The Maple Leafs have already spent their salary cap increase

Mike Armenti
June 9, 2024  (8:43)

William Nylander
Photo credit: Maple Leafs/X

With the NHL's announcement that the salary cap for next season will increase by $4.5M, the Toronto Maple Leafs have already spent the newfound cash.

Fans rejoiced on Saturday when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed that the league's salary cap would be set at $300K higher than the original projection of $87.7M, at $88M, which meant that teams would have $4.5M more to spend this summer than they did last summer.
Unfortunately for Leafs fans, they won't have an extra $4.5M, thanks to the William Nylander extension.
Nylander inked a contract extension with the Maple Leafs in the middle of last season, worth a whopping $92M. His previous AAV was just a hair under $7M, but with his new cap hit coming in at $11.5M, that eats up the entire $4.5M boost NHL teams are receiving this summer.
Matthews inked a 4-year contract extension worth a staggering $13.25M per season last summer. Yes, it was a well-deserved pay raise for one of the NHL's most elite talents, but Matthews' raise is ~$1.6M more than his previous $11.64M cap hit from last season, so that's also something they'll have to content with.
Thankfully, they have the Jake Muzzin, Matt Murray, John Klingberg, Ilya Samsonov, Max Domi, Tyler Bertuzzi and TJ Brodie contracts coming off the books this summer, among others, so they'll have some money to work with.
So far, the Leafs have expressed an interest in bringing both Domi and Bertuzzi back, and they may have also kicked tires on the idea of bringing Matt Murray back on a cheap 1-year "prove it" deal at somewhere near the league minimum salary after bi-lateral hip surgery. If they explore these options, it will cut heavily into the $18.8M in cap space they have to spend this summer.
If the team manages to offload Mitch Marner in blockbuster trade this summer, it stands to reason that their cap situation will improve, but whether or not the team will improve on the ice is a different situation entirely.
Free agency opens up in 3 weeks time and the Leafs are certainly a team to watch as they'll be looking to make a splash this summer.
Source: NHL.com
NHL salary cap will rise to $88 million next season
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The Maple Leafs have already spent their salary cap increase

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