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Maple Leafs: questionable additions and millions of dollars over the cap

I don’t know how you feel about the players the Maple Leafs have signed and let go, but let’s just say it’s not exactly unanimous in the Queen City right now.

Why isn’t it?

Mainly because seeing good soldiers like Noel Acciari, Justin Holl, Luke Schenn, Michael Bunting, Alex Kerfoot and Ryan O’Reilly leave hurts the fans.

And when you consider that Ryan O’Reilly, an Ontarian, would rather sign for Nashville than Toronto, that’s saying a lot.

To replace them, guys like Ryan Reaves, William Lagesson, John Klingberg, Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi and Dylan Gambrell are coming to town for next season.

We know how much the club was criticized for giving Reaves three years…

Of course, the additions aren’t field hockey villains, but the club is losing leadership, and while they’ve done a good job of adding grit to their lineup, two important aspects haven’t been addressed.

Which two? The defense… and the salary cap.

Yes, the club gave away a few one-year contracts, which will lighten the load in 2024, but the fact remains that, in the short term, not trading a member of the core four hurts the salary cap.

Why? Because the club is more than $8 million over the cap… and hasn’t signed Ilya Samsonov.

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Obviously, Jake Muzzin ($5.625M) will go on the long-term injured list, but Kent Hughes confirmed (in the Carey Price file) doesn’t like, when he’s close to the cap, having to use the off-season long-term injured list.

And Brad Treliving is lining up to have to do it.

Even if he’s “only” $2.5 million over the cap, Samsonov will still have to be signed, which means there’ll be a big salary to take out of the pot for the start of the season.

Max Domi and Tyler Bertuzzi had better produce offensively, because the club’s search for sandpaper will have forced management to dig a hole from which it will be difficult to climb out.

Remember that within 24 months, all four members of the core four will become free agents – unless, of course, they sign a contract extension in the meantime. In 2024, it will be Matthews and Nylander.

Next year, the same problem will exist in Toronto: the club will have to sign contracts that provide flexibility.

In bursts

– Speaking of the Maple Leafs.

– Ethan Gauthier is happy. [BPM Sports]

– Interesting.

– Clearly.

– Stay tuned.

– Hum…

– What do you think?

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