Avalanche reportedly bending the salary cap rules in their favour; will they face the same heat as the Leafs?

Dean Chaudhry
September 11, 2023  (7:21 PM)

The Toronto Maple Leafs were dragged through the mud after they announced that buyout candidate Matt Murray would be placed on the LTIR for the foreseeable future, freeing up an additional $4.687M for the Leafs to use this season.

It came at a time when the Leafs were strung up by the salary cap, so much so, that they were in the red by several millions. After deciding not to use a buyout during the first window, many were perplexed as to why wasted a glorious opportunity. Then they were given a second chance when Ilya Samsonov elected for arbitration, but instead of a buyout they announced an LTIR placement.
I can see how some thought that there might have been something "fishy" going on, considering the fact that he was healthy during the playoffs. However, this is not the first time a team has decided to use the LTIR and it won't be the last time either.
The Vegas Golden Knights used it recently with Mark Stone and he made a recovery come playoff time, the Tampa Bay Lightning did the same thing with Nikita Kucherov, and the Boston Bruins used the same loophole last year with Taylor Hall. Enter the Colorado Avalanche with their captain Gabriel Landeskog.
It's a very useful loophole within the NHL and if you can use it, go right ahead - as long as it's for the right reasons. However, picking and choosing, whenever it's appropriate to lambast a team for it's decision needs to come to a halt. Boston didn't receive much flack last year, the Golden Knights didn't either, and now the Avalanche are sliding under the radar. However, the Leafs received enough hate to account for all 4 teams.
Landeskog is set to miss his second consecutive season due to a knee cartilage transplant. He has already bene ruled out for the 2023-24 season, which forced the Avalanche to make some much needed moves to address their depth. With the additional cap space, they added Jonathan Drouin, Ryan Johansen, Ross Colton, and Miles Wood upfront as they hope it's enough to keep them afloat until their captain's return - which they're hoping is in time for the playoffs.
Once the playoffs roll around, the cap disappears, and it'll be interesting to see who makes a return to the lineup. The Leafs can now roll their cap compliant team to start the 2023-24 season with Jake Muzzin and Matt Murray on the LTIR, while the Avalanche can do the same with their captain.
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