Leafs management facing a gut-wrenching roster decision

Ryan Hall
December 19, 2023  (2:52 PM)

Photo credit: AP News

Last weekend had to be one of the best for Maple Leafs forward Bobby McMann in his short NHL career. I'm sure he was having the night of his life when he scored his first career NHL goal during a 7-0 dismantling of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Hockey Night in Canada.

The expression on his face along with his teammates' reactions showed how happy he was to get that milestone goal out of the way.
Meanwhile, up in the front office, General Manager Brad Treliving and his staff are faced with a very tough decision in the coming days.
According to PuckPedia, McMann has spent over 30 days on an NHL roster since clearing waivers which means he will now have to clear waivers a second time to be assigned to the AHL. With how well he has played in a depth role, it's quite possible that he is claimed if waived again.
The reason this decision is difficult is the fact that Maple Leafs are tight against the salary cap and will have to trim the roster when their injured players return and/or after they pull off a deal for a defenseman, which could impact their cap situation even more.
McMann is fitting in well with this roster and seems to be finding success in the bottom 6. A good energy forward, he has played seven games for the Maple Leafs, have scored one goal with three assists for a total of four points and has had 9 minutes of ice time on average per game.
Perhaps the biggest decision that the Leafs will face will come when Ryan Reaves is ready to return to action. Reaves and McMann were the two depth forwards who have been swapping in and out of the lineup. There is a chance that the Leafs look to move Reaves and his $1.35M cap hit for two more seasons after this one, but that could be easier said than done with how tight cap space is around the NHL.
Another option that is available to Brad Treliving is to simply waive Ryan Reaves and either free up a little over $1M in cap space or hope that someone claims him for free. However, we know how much the guys in the locker room love Reavo, so I'm sure the organization would have concerns over what such a move might do to the atmosphere in locker room.
Leafs management facing a gut-wrenching roster decision

Should the Leafs put Ryan Reaves on waivers ?

Yes, he hasnt worked out.58861.8 %
No, They need that toughness.19920.9 %
Just waive Bobby McMann323.4 %
Try to trade McMann or Reaves13213.9 %
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