Considering the Leafs had four bucks in cap space to start the season, they sure could use some extra spending money —that’s for sure.
Lucky for Kyle Dubas and company, that could be coming sooner than expected.
Indisputably, of the NHL’s 32 franchises, Toronto is on a short list of teams who could greatly benefit from these potential developments. Though most of it was self induced, the Leafs have been in cap hell for several years now. Of course, the pandemic didn’t help anyone out, especially the big spenders atop the food chain who would undeniably be in better standing right now had the cap continued to rise at its anticipated rate.
In the grand scheme of things, an increase of $4-4.5 million could do wonders for the Maple Leafs. Short term, it would help when talking extension with the likes of Michael Bunting, Alex Kerfoot and Ilya Samsonov. Of the three, Bunting’s undoubtedly the No.1 priority to get re-signed long-term, regardless of his slow start to the season. When you’re paying the big five what you are, every penny allocated elsewhere is of vast importance, so rest assured, Toronto will be handling the Bunting negotiations with a fine-tooth comb. That’s why seeing the recent reports of both sides looking long-term to lower the average annual value were not surprising in the slightest.
Big picture, a sizeable jump in salary cap like this gives management a better understanding of where the cap is headed and how much money they’ll have to play with moving forward. It goes without saying, but next summer is a crucial one for Toronto. Not only is Auston Matthews eligible for a contract extension, but so is William Nylander. T.J. Brodie is too, although clearly, there are bigger fish to fry beforehand.
All things being equal, even though nothing is etched in stone at this point, these developments should be viewed as a massive win for the Leafs. Obviously, a lot can change over the course of this season and into next summer, but having extra money to spend can only do this franchise good in the long run.