The Leafs are officially in trouble ahead of next season

Published July 19, 2023 at 2:39 PM
Following the firing of Kyle Dubas, former general manager of the Calgary Flames, Brad Treliving, has taken over the reins of the Leafs. Although they are one of the most talented teams on paper in the NHL, Treliving faces a highly complex challenge regarding the salary cap, as three forwards are earning over $10 million per season.

The newcomer wasted no time in improving the team by making new acquisitions that could provide valuable support next year. Indeed, the general manager has agreed to one-year contracts with forwards Tyler Bertuzzi ($6.5 million) and Max Domi ($3 million), as well as defenseman John Klingberg ($4.15 million).

However, these new signings currently put the Leafs over the salary cap by $8.83 million heading into the next season. Even by placing Jake Muzzin's contract on LTIR, as he suffered a serious spinal injury last year, Toronto would still be above the salary cap.

Furthermore, the general manager must find a way to sign their goaltender, Ilya Samsonov. Despite some difficulties in the playoffs, the 26-year-old Russian was excellent throughout the regular season, with a record of 27 wins, 10 losses, and 5 overtime losses. He maintained an impressive save percentage of 0.919 and a remarkable goals against average of 2.33.

However, there seems to be a significant gap between Samsonov's salary demands and what Brad Treliving is willing to spend. Ilya Samsonov is asking for an annual salary of $4.9 million, while the Leafs' general manager wants to offer him a contract of $2.4 million per season. It will be very interesting to see if the two parties can reach an agreement before the end of the arbitration process or if the Toronto management will accept the arbitrator's decision in this matter.

If the Leafs were to grant him a contract close to $5 million, the team would exceed the salary cap by approximately $8 million for the 2023-2024 season. One thing is certain, while Kent Hughes' summer seems practically over, it will be the complete opposite for Brad Treliving, who will have the daunting task of trading undesirable contracts in order to comply with the salary cap for the first game of the season, which is scheduled for October 10th against the Montreal Canadiens.

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