Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe flags down an official during a stoppage in play
Photo credit: TSN

Leafs being accused of violating the CBA, circumventing the cap

Published January 22, 2024 at 12:19
BY MIKE ARMENTI

There's never a dull moment in Toronto, especially when it comes to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The team was able to get back into the win column on Sunday with a big win over the Seattle Kraken, but the story of the night was not about the big road win, it was actually about Ryan Reaves, who made some comments during an interview that was released yesterday evening by Sportsnet's Luke Fox that really had people talking.

During his interview with Sportsnet, Reaves revealed that despite the fact that he is healthy and has been for the last couple of weeks, the Leafs have simply left him on injured reserve instead of making a roster move to open up a spot for him to return during their recent 4-game road trip.

The interview made its rounds on social media last night and was even discussed by Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek on their most recent edition of 32 Thoughts. Marek had suggested that Reaves' comments to Sportsnet were intentional to try to drum up controversy, while Friedman suggested that the Leafs would make a move to resolve this issue before Wednesday. Friedman was purposefully vague about whether that meant sending someone else down or simply waiving or trading Reaves.

The situation has drawn the ire of fans of other NHL clubs, who believe that the Leafs are doing something devious and underhanded, keeping a healthy player on injured reserve longer than he should be to try to carry an additional player on their roster, therefore gaining an unfair advantage.





Elliotte Friedman had suggested on 32T on Monday that perhaps Reaves' continued presence on IR has more to do with the fact that doctors haven't cleared him to return than it does with the Leafs trying to stash a healthy player on IR. Still, it hasn't stopped people from talking.

It bears mentioning that since Reaves is on IR and not LTIR, the Leafs are not circumventing the salary cap in any way. Other accusations, such as the ones who are suggesting that they're violating the CBA, are certainly a stretch as well, especially after Reaves himself revealed that his knees sometimes pop out when he gets out of bed in the morning.

The idea that the Leafs have drawn any favouritism from the NHL is laughable. They remain one of the teams with the least powerplay opportunities this season and we know all too well about how Leafs players are treated by the NHL's Department of Player Safety in comparison to players from other teams. There's certainly no favouritism at play here, though the Reaves situation remains a curious one.

We're likely to have some clarity on the Reaves situation over the next 48 hours, but until then, I'm sure people will continue to talk and spread their rumours.
POLL
January 22   |   782 answers
Leafs being accused of violating the CBA, circumventing the cap

Are the Leafs violating the CBA by keeping Ryan Reaves on IR when he says he's healthy?

Yes, it's shady27835.5 %
No, that's just dumb28336.2 %
I don't know what to think22128.3 %
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