Despite team president Brendan Shanahan remaining mum on the situation in radio appearances earlier today, TSN’s Darren Dreger is reporting that the Leafs have in fact begun contract extension talks with Morgan Rielly.
“There’s nothing imminent, but there’s obviously a strong appetite from Lou Lamoriello and the Toronto Maple Leafs to get something done. Short term seems unlikely – a longer term of five or six years seems more likely, but they’ll get into that when the heavy lifting of this negotiation hits full stride.
If you’re talking about a five or six year term… you’re looking at an average annual salary of somewhere between $4.5M and $5.5M per year.”
Rielly, 22, is coming off his three-year entry level contract. In 82 games this season, he lead all Leafs defencemen in points (36) and ice time (23:13).
Thomas Drance wrote about Rielly’s next contract just last week – it’s an excellent read and I highly suggest you go back and check it out if you haven’t already. In it, Drance came to a similar conclusion as Dreger, saying that Toronto will likely be looking at Carolina defender Justin Faulk’s six-year, $29M as a baseline for negotiations, and that Rielly’s cap hit could crack the $5M mark.