Toronto Maple Leafs: Morgan Rielly Situation Hangs Over Team

Toronto Maple Leafs - Morgan Rielly (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs - Morgan Rielly (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs look like they will be entering the 2021-22 season with a very good blue line. However, there is doubt as to what the team should do with Morgan Rielly.

Since Morgan Rielly is on an expiring contract, it makes sense that his name continues to be brought up. Teams generally prefer to re-sign or trade important players instead of allowing them to walk at the season’s end for no return. That could also mean other teams are focused on prying Rielly away from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Should the Leafs sign their homegrown star defenseman for a salary that is likely ridiculous, given what was handed out this summer to some players who are not as good as Rielly is?

Or should they cut bait and get something for him now while they still can?  Until this situation is resolved, it will hang over the team like a dark cloud.

Toronto Maple Leafs and Morgan Rielly

Despite the fact that a new contract may be prohibitively expensive, thanks to preposterous deals handed out to the likes of Darnell Nurse and Seth Jones, it’s still hard to believe that the Toronto Maple Leafs would trade Rielly, a homegrown talent whom they selected 5th overall back in 2012.

The best case scenario for the Leafs is if they can get Rielly to sign a maximum length extension in exchange for a lower cap hit. If they get him on a contract with a number that begins with a 6, he is worth keeping around.  However, overpaying Rielly with a higher deal would be terrible for the future of the Leafs, especially with a potential replacement in Rasmus Sandin in the fold.

If the Leafs can’t get Rielly to sign a team-friendly extension before training camp, he will likely end up in the same boat as Frederik Andersen and Zach Hyman, both who left the Leafs after their contracts expired.

This may seem like a terrible move on the surface, but since they are contenders, there is a certain logic in treating Rielly like an “own rental” and getting one last all-star caliber season out of him rather than trading him for futures,  which would make the Leafs worse right now, heading into a season where they are a reasonable bet to win the Stanley Cup.

If Rielly is not signed soon, I would fully expect him to at least finish the season with Toronto and leave afterwards.

dark. Next. The Fallout of the Kasperi Kapanen Trade

The Toronto Maple Leafs are unlikely to trade Rielly, but there is still a strong possibility he signs before the season starts.