Three Maple Leafs players new GM Brad Treliving needs to cut ties with this summer

Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Seney
10 months ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs hired Brad Treliving so he could steer the team in a new direction. While reaching the second round last season was some decent progress, the path to becoming Stanley Cup champions starts right now.
The offseason madness has already begun across the NHL and now it’s up to the Maple Leafs’ new general manager to put his fingerprints all over the 2023-24 roster. Treliving’s best policy moving forward? Addition by subtraction.
The Maple Leafs have a number of players they either need to let walk to free agency or explore trading. Let’s zone in on three players Treliving and company need to cut ties with:

Matt Murray

It won’t be easy to trade Matt Murray, but Treliving needs to be doing his best to work the phones. It’s going to require a sweetener if Murray is dealt, one in which Toronto’s GM needs to max out at a third-round pick or mid-level prospect.
Mar 13, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Matt Murray (30) makes a save during warm up before a game against the Buffalo Sabres at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Treliving shouldn’t overpay when it comes to moving Murray, due to the fact a buyout is on the table here. Buying out the two-time Stanley Cup champion would cost the Maple Leafs $687,500 next season and $2 million in 2024-25. A reasonable difference from the $4.6 million he’s set to cost Toronto against the cap in 2023-24.
With Joseph Woll showcasing his talents throughout all of last season and with Ilya Samsonov’s new contract coming this summer, Murray is the odd man out and should be moved. The San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings are two teams I’d circle here.

Justin Holl

When it comes to roster changes for the Maple Leafs, their defense needs a huge face lift. It starts by letting Justin Holl know a new contract is not coming anytime soon. The right-handed defenseman should be shown the door and walked right into free agency on July 1.
Holl cost the team too many times last season and needs to be replaced. Yes, he’s a decent penalty killer, but those are easy to find. His game is very mediocre at the best of times and the team’s loyalty to continue to play Holl was something that left many scratching their heads.
Apr 11, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) skates with the puck as Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Justin Holl (3) defends during the third period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
At 31 years old and among a weaker free-agent class, there’s little doubt somebody will take a flyer on signing Holl to a two or three-year contract. It just can’t be Treliving. Kyle Dubas was as loyal as ever to Holl who made his way through the organization and was battled tested from the Mike Babcock days, when he got healthy scratched 71 times in a season.
Holl’s come a long way, but in order for the Maple Leafs to make the necessary changes they need to become faster, tougher to play against and a more mobile group on defense, he needs to go.

TJ Brodie

This may be the toughest sell of them all to Treliving as he has history with TJ Brodie, but to me, his game fell off so much last season and into the playoffs. There’s little doubt in my mind – Brodie needs to go.
The 33-year-old blueliner is entering the final season of his contract, making $5 million against the cap and one thing that’s working in Treliving’s favor here, is the fact Brodie’s full no-trade clause has now changed to a 10-team modified protection.
May 6, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman TJ Brodie (78) looks on against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period of game three of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
With only the one season left on his deal, and coming off a down year, the market is going to be very thin for a trade. It’s going to take some creativity should Treliving decide to move on from Brodie, and frankly he should be. The Maple Leafs need to refresh their defense core and the four returning should be Morgan Rielly, Luke Schenn, Jake McCabe and Timothy Liljegren. After that, anything should be on the table.
Yes, Brodie is versatile to play either side, but he’s not physical enough and his foot speed cost him at very timely moments in the playoffs, including when Florida Panthers’ Sam Reinhart stepped around him easily to go on to score the overtime winner in Game 3 of the second round. At that point, it was the biggest game of the Leafs season and the biggest moment. Brodie let Reinhart walk in and all of his flaws were exposed at the same time.
It may take a little salary retention or as part of a bigger package; regardless, Treliving needs to be exploring the Brodie trade market this summer. The same can be said for Murray, however at this point, it appears a buy out is the route coming for the veteran netminder.  As for Holl, enough is enough and the Maple Leafs need to move on. If Treliving ever asked me ‘where to start?’, it’d be undoubtedly with these three.

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