The Maple Leafs announced today that goaltender Matt Murray is out indefinitely and will be placed on Injured Reserve/Long Term Injury prior to the start of the season.
– Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) July 26, 2023
Much like every year, the Toronto Maple Leafs are currently struggling with payroll issues. Considering that the salary cap doesn’t go up, betting on so many big earners makes it pretty hard to manage in the city, and once again this year, that’s the case.
And I’m not even taking into account the current negotiations with Auston Matthews and William Nylander.
And while many expected Matt Murray’s contract to be bought out, given the Maple Leafs’ second contract buyout window following Ilya Samsonov’s passage through salary arbitration, the Toronto club finally announced at noon that Murray would also be placed on the LTIR.
We’re talking about an indefinite absence for the goaltender, but clearly, he’ll miss the start of next season and could even be out for the entire campaign.
And in the eyes of some, that’s where it gets tricky.
In fact, what’s particularly upsetting is that the goaltender was given the green light to return to action on May 9, when the Maple Leafs were in the playoffs. He didn’t play, but was seen as Joseph Woll’s backup following Ilya Samsonov’s playoff injury.
Sheldon Keefe when asked if Matt Murray is an option for Game 4: “He’s been cleared, he’s healthy.”
– David Alter (@dalter) May 8, 2023
Obviously, the knowledge that he’s been given the green light for the playoffs makes today’s decision less palatable across the NHL, but in the end, it’s not unlike the cases of Shea Weber and Carey Price during the CH’s playoff run in the summer of 2021.
That said, in Toronto, it was a happy coincidence, considering the club’s desperate need for money. But in reality, had he been healthy, the Leafs would probably have simply bought out his contract.
Remember, you can’t buy out the contract of an injured player.
Worth noting here that Matt Murray obviously being injured and going on long term injured reserve indefinitely, also means that the #Leafs would not have been able to buyout him in their second window even if they wanted to.
You cannot buyout an injured player. https://t.co/HbJpoXnMRH
– CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 26, 2023
Obviously, placing him on the LTIR is more advantageous for the Maple Leafs (and Senators), who won’t have to pay a contract buyout penalty. But in the end, it’s still pretty much the same thing: Murray’s cap hit is gone, something the Leafs sorely needed.
If he miraculously returns in the next playoffs, I’ll start asking myself more serious questions, but in the short term, I don’t really believe in getting around the salary cap.
We obviously wish the 29-year-old good health, and we’ll now see how Brad Treliving finds the $2 million and change he still needs to comply with the salary cap. Stay tuned.
– Logan Cooley could finally sign his entry-level contract by the start of next season.
Per source, there is momentum toward Logan Cooley signing his ELC to play for the Coyotes this season.
Cooley previously announced that he’d return to Minnesota for his sophomore season but he left the door open in this Q&A that I conducted with him.https://t.co/8IZCYKorhc
– Craig Morgan (@CraigSMorgan) July 26, 2023
– He won’t deny it, we agree.
“I don’t think the guys are questioning [this decision] ” https://t.co/2QPZfJkJSE
– TVA Sports (@TVASports) July 26, 2023
– Status of the Red Wings prospects.