Matt Murray and John Klingberg reportedly interested in re-signing with Leafs

Dean Chaudhry
June 1, 2024  (8:19 PM)

John Klingberg skating through the neutral zone during a home game against the Minnesota Wild.
Photo credit: Dan Hamilton - USA Today Sports

The cash-strapped Toronto Maple Leafs could potentially bring back John Klingberg and Matt Murray on low-risk, high-reward deals.

Both Murray and Klingberg have gone through the ringer in their short tenures with the Maple Leafs and while their initial acquisitions didn't meet the criteria of a bonus-laden contract extension, there might be a "loop-hole" within the CBA that would allow the Leafs to bring them back at the league minimum.
David Alter of The Hockey News points out that according to Article 50.2 of the NHL's collective bargaining agreement it "allows for performance bonus-based contracts for certain players based on experience and recent injury status."
Both Murray and Klingberg are reportedly interested in continuing their partnership with the Maple Leafs, but we don't yet know if the Leafs feel the same or if they're looking to part ways with the pair of oft-injured veterans.
To be eligible, the player has to have 400-plus games under their belt for pension purposes, they would also qualify if they had spent at least 100 days on the injured reserve in the last year of their most recent contract year, and the player must sign a one-year contract for the current or upcoming league year to be eligible for performance bonuses.
Former Maple Leafs forward Connor Brown recently signed a similar deal with the Edmonton Oilers when he agreed upon a one-year, NHL minimum 775,000$ with a $3.225 million dollar performance bonus if he played in 10 games that season. It didn't necessarily work out like gang busters for the Oilers with Brown having scored just 4 goals and 12 points in 71 games played during the regular season but he has chipped in with 4 points in 11 playoff games and has actually played pretty well for the Oilers.
Both Klingberg and Murray meet all the requirements since they spent almost the entire year on LTIR this past season and the "400-plus games" stipulation is reduced for goaltenders, who don't play in as many games as skaters. Murray has played in 272 games.
Signing Murray to the minimum $775,000 as your third goaltender is a very low-risk, high-reward play. Murray has struggled since his early years with the Pittsburgh Penguins but he has shown small glimpses of what he is capable of when healthy.
His most remarkable run came in the early part of the 2022-23 season when he went 7-0-2 with a .933 SV% and a 2.33 G.A.A. Injuries have plagued him over the years as he suffered through 3 different ailments in 2022-23 alone.
Klingberg is well known for his offensive acumen and being able to quarterback a power play but his even-strength game has taken a hit over the years and that was on full display in his short 14-game stint before his season-ending injury. He is still capable of playing 16-18 minutes a night and manning the second power play unit - should Morgan Rielly remain on the top unit - and if he comes in at $775,000, that would be a boon for a club that is always looking for defensive depth. Even if he isn't an every night player anymore, Klingberg can still be useful as a PP specialist.
Of course both players would need performance bonuses attached to their contracts and the easiest way to do that would be following Brown's games played stipulation in Edmonton, especially for a goaltender like Murray. For Klingberg, you could choose that route or perhaps a bonus related to his point production since he's only a couple seasons removed from tallying 47 points for Dallas.
With the salary cap set to rise over the next few seasons, this is something the Maple Leafs can technically afford. Bonus overages are a constant worry for most clubs but the Leafs were just a part of a handful of teams that didn't incur any this past season. Should they incur any overages for next season, there's going to be big money coming off the books next season in John Tavares and Mitch Marner, which would lessen the blow a little bit.
1 JUIN   |   393 ANSWERS
Matt Murray and John Klingberg reportedly interested in re-signing with Leafs

Should the Maple Leafs consider bringing back Klingberg and Murray on NHL minimums?

Yes, low-risk and high-reward10927.7 %
No, bonus overages are going to hurt them19950.6 %
Murray over Klingberg358.9 %
Klingberg over Murray5012.7 %
Latest 10 stories