Leafs weighing their options, $12M over the cap looking to become compliant; Muzzin trade chatter?

Mike Armenti
July 25, 2023  (10:03)

Following the conclusion of Ilya Samsonov's arbitration case with the Leafs, the team now turns to the tall task of clearing some cap space in order to make all of the pieces fit. As it stands, the Leafs are more than $12.3M over the cap - $6.75M over the cap with Jake Muzzin on LTIR.

The Leafs may not be able to solve all of their issues with just one move, so it's likely that we see multiple moves in the coming days, including a potential buyout of Matt Murray, who has one year left on his current deal at $4.687M. The Leafs, I'm sure, would prefer to trade Murray to avoid any cap penalties this year and next, but Murray's $8M actual salary is prohibitive for teams, unless the Leafs are willing to include a significant sweetener in the deal.
Beyond the potential Murray buyout, there are a number of other names that have been thrown around in potential trades, including that of T.J. Brodie, Calle Jarnkrok and now, even Jake Muzzin. On Monday, Leafs writer Mike Augello suggested that the Leafs could end up moving the final year of Muzzin's deal, which carries a $5.625M cap hit.
"Buying out Matt Murray is the likeliest option for the #Leafs at some point over the next 72 hours, but another possibility before the season is trading the LTIR contract of Jake Muzzin. Cap hit of $5.625 mil, real salary is $4 mil & $2 mil of that was signing bonus paid on 7/1." - Reporter Mike Augello on the Leafs potentially moving the final year of Muzzin's deal

I know what you're thinking; "why would the Leafs want to move Muzzin when they can just keep him on LTIR and have access to his cap space anyway?" Well, it's simple, really. If the Leafs can manage to come into next season without having anyone on LTIR, they can accrue cap space throughout the year to give themselves some added financial flexibility at the trade deadline.
For those who may be unaware, when a team ices a roster that is below the salary cap, a percentage of the money they play under the cap is banked for use later on in the season. When a team is utilizing LTIR, they lose the ability to bank additional cap space.
I'm not sure if Leafs GM Brad Treliving intends to move Muzzin or not. The reality is that nobody knows, except for Treliving and perhaps a small contingent of people within the Leafs' front office. But, there's no arguing that the Leafs could benefit from some added cap flexibility at the deadline.
25 JUILLET   |   685 ANSWERS
Leafs weighing their options, $12M over the cap looking to become compliant; Muzzin trade chatter?

Will the Leafs trade the final year of Jake Muzzin's contract?

Yes32547.4 %
No19328.2 %
They'll only move him if absolutely necessary16724.4 %
Latest 10 stories