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Matt Murray contract: Maple Leafs under fire from other teams
Do you know Robidas Island?

Don’t open Google Maps for nothing and don’t try to book your next vacation there.

Robidas Island is not a physical place.

Rather, it’s an expression used in the NHL stemming from the end of the story between Stéphane Robidas and the Toronto Maple Leafs. At the time, in the summer of 2015, the Canadiens’ current defence coach was in the penultimate season of a three-year, $3 million/year contract with the team from the Queen City. Instead of assuming this amount from its payroll, the team decided to place him on the long-term injured list, citing a mysterious knee injury.

The merry-go-round lasted two full seasons before Robidas officially retired.

In other words, they took advantage of a provision in the collective agreement to avoid a cumbersome financial imperative.

No penalties, no money tied up in the bank, nothing. Just good stuff for the Leafs. They’ve got a taste for it, and it looks like history will repeat itself.

Back to the present.

Matt Murray is a goalie made of tissue paper. Nothing hurts him. #LeMartinHavlatDesTempsModernes

And the Leafs, again, would love not to have to take on his almost $4.7M salary next season. They therefore announced early this summer that they were placing the goaltender on their long-term injury list.

The problem is that, behind the scenes in the NHL, the other teams’ executives are gnashing their teeth. According to Renaud Lavoie, the Maple Leafs may have offered Matt Murray a one-way plane ticket to Robidas Island.

Appearing this morning on BPM Sports with Paul Houde and Gilbert Delorme, the TVA Sports journalist raised a number of questions shared with him by sources in the industry. Some teams have even asked the NHL to investigate the Murray file and the Toronto Maple Leafs’ salary cap management.

According to what Lavoie has heard, questions are being raised about Murray’s actual state of health and his eligibility to be placed on the LTIR.

Why would this be?

Because his last injury was a concussion. It prevented him from finishing last season with his teammates. However, during the playoffs, Murray returned to the game, if you’ll pardon the expression, by being used as a backup goalie. In other words, in the spring, he was fit to play according to the Leafs, but come October, he won’t be.

Quite a turnaround, if you know what I mean!

Oh, and the medical staff also knows that he’ll be injured again next March. It’s a known fact (Not) that concussions can be predicted months in advance. Too bad tinted visors don’t exist for goalies. #FrancisBouillon

In his radio interview, Lavoie raises an interesting parallel with Carey Price. The latter had returned to the game and had been on duty for a few games at the end of the 2021-2022 season, and has been on the Habs’ LTIR ever since.

The big difference between the Murray and Price cases is that, according to Lavoie, it was Carey who indicated to the team that he was no longer capable of playing. Conversely, we understand that it was the Leafs who told Murray that he was no longer able to play.

As for Price, Lavoie’s comments reinforce the information I shared with you last October, when I revealed that the goaltender had accepted his situation, unlike Shea Weber. If Price is the one who ” called the shot “, as they say, it’s logically because he had come to terms with his professional career.

Getting back to the Torontonians, I have no choice but to think that Brad Treliving’s reign at the head of his new team is off to a very bad start. I can’t wait to see how things turn out, and whether the Maple Leafs will be sanctioned in any way. (Guess not, we’re talking about the Leafs and the NHL here. No need to say more).

Also, I wonder if Murray will just let next season pass and try a comeback somewhere else afterwards? It seems unlikely, but not impossible either.

Plus, I’m curious to see how the players’ association will handle the matter. After all, a team forces the “retirement” of one of its own when he still has a valid contract and is, presumably, healthy and able to play. I don’t mind that it gives other players free money, but I find it a very slippery slope if the NHLPA doesn’t push back.

In bursts

– We realize that Cale Makar offered the Avalanche a discounted contract. #JakeSanderson #RasmusDahlin

– I’m convinced too.

– Logan Stankoven unveils his Stars number.

– Biggest ratings in the U.S. if you remove the NFL. No trace of the NHL. #NotSurprising

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