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Ilya Samsonov’s salary arbitration hearing is set for July 21st

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Photo credit:David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Mazzei
9 months ago
The moment that Ilya Samsonov filed for salary arbitration, the Leafs knew that had a limited amount of time to get a new contract sorted out. With the NHLPA now releasing the dates, it turns out they will only have a week and a half left to get it over the finish line.
With the arbitration hearing scheduled for July 21st, Brad Treliving now has just 11 days to try and get a deal done with Samsonov beforehand.  I would imagine that both parties will be hoping not to have a mediator determine the contract so the sense of urgency is going increase in order to get this deal done.
At the time of writing, the Leafs are roughly $8.1 million over the cap but they will only need to free up at least $2.4 million given that Jake Muzzin almost certainly going to be placed on LTIR. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that salary will need to be moved in the coming days in order to keep Toronto cap compliant since they are already at the 10% overage limit after signing Max Domi.
The most obvious candidate to be moved is Matt Murray, who has one year remaining on his contract that comes with a nearly $4.7 million cap hit. He is coming off a decent season but struggled to stay healthy and lost the starting role to Samsonov. The Leafs have the option to buy him out since the arbitration hearing grants them a second window to exercise a buyout if they chose, which will result in a dead cap hit of $687K for next season and $2 million for 2024-25. It probably makes more sense to trade him in a cap dump so that he is off the books entirely, but the buyout option is available.
TJ Brodie is also someone who could be shipped out given that he has a cap hit of $5 million and one year left on his contract. Treliving has previously tried to ship Brodie out in the botched Nazem Kadri trade back in 2019, so it’s not a stretch to suggest he would be open to moving the defenceman again four years later. It would leave a gaping hole on the backend given how consistent Brodie has been for the Leafs and they will have to add another blueliner, but this outcome is a possibility.
Of course, they could also use this as an opportunity to determine if William Nylander is set to stay beyond the coming season given how contract talks have not gone smoothly to this point. While he is the least likely of the players mentioned to be moved even with his camp not balking on their reported asking price of over $10 million a season, there is still a chance that he is ultimately the one shipped out.
Regardless of which direction the Leafs go, they will need to move quickly if they want to get Samsonov’s contract signed before the hearing date. You can expect plenty of noise from the Toronto front office over the next 11 days.
Salary information from CapFriendly.

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