Speculation over major roster moves for the Toronto Maple Leafs started following their second-round elimination by the Florida Panthers.
Questions were raised over whether their recent parting of ways with GM Kyle Dubas would affect contract extension talks this summer with Auston Matthews. Meanwhile, there was media chatter about trading Mitch Marner or William Nylander to land a No. 1 defenseman or a power forward.
However, the Maple Leafs could decide to do nothing this summer to shake up their “core four” of Matthews, Marner, Nylander and captain John Tavares.
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On Tuesday, TSN’s Chris Johnston reported nothing’s changed regarding Matthews’ intent to sign a new contract with the Leafs. The 25-year-old center is currently waiting to see who becomes the new GM and what their vision will be for the club’s future.
Johnston also indicated that Leafs president Brendan Shanahan told his top players that they likely won’t be moved. The plan is to return next season with those core forwards.
If that’s the case, Leafs Nation can forget about a blockbuster trade that shakes things up or a major free-agent signing that bolsters their Stanley Cup hopes next season.
The only other Leaf with significant trade value is Morgan Rielly. Trading their best defenseman, however, creates another problem to be addressed. The remainder of the roster lacks the trade value that would fetch a top-pairing blueliner or a top-six forward with grit.
CapFriendly shows the Leafs with about $9.1 million in cap space for 2023-24 with 15 active roster players under contract. They’ll get additional cap relief of $5.625 million if Jake Muzzin remains on long-term injury reserve. Nevertheless, that won’t leave enough to make a big free-agent signing and fill out the rest of the roster.
- Will the Maple Leafs Retain Their 'Core Four' Forwards?
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