The Toronto Maple Leafs may face a tough challenge this summer to retain their loveable number one goalie Jack Campbell.
Plainly, Jack Campbell far outplayed the $1.65 million paid to him by the Toronto Maple Leafs this past season.
League-wide, only 10 goalies topped his 31 wins this season and he was one of just a dozen that topped the 30-win mark.
All of this, when coupled with the struggles both on-ice and with injuries to his backup Petr Mrazek, mean he’s set up for a nice payday.
Toronto Maple Leafs Maybe Can’t Afford Jack Campbell
Simple comparisons with his counterparts across the league would suggest that Jack Campbell could very fairly ask for between $4-5 million per season.
The direct comparison there being the deal inked by his replacement in Los Angeles. Cal Peterson was signed to a $5 million per season deal with less history in the league than Campbell.
Likewise, his Toronto Maple Leafs predecessor Frederick Andersen is earning $4.5 million a year in Carolina, though with more.of a resume than both Peterson and Campbell. It’s unclear whether the Leafs can actually afford to be paying him around that range if they don’t want to significantly adjust the make-up of the roster.
Even looking to the Toronto Maple Leafs backup spot; Petr Mrazek is signed to a $3.8 million deal that surely would be the bare minimum expectation for the very much loved first choice goaltender. And this is really where part of the problem lies; if the Maple Leafs can’t shake themselves free of Mrazek’s contract, they might not have enough funds to renew Campbell and also retain their other free agents.
Mrazek isn’t exactly viewed as a fantastic deal by any team in the league, as seen by the fact he passed through waivers unclaimed last season. His injury record means any team adding him is really taking a bit of a gamble.
However, the Toronto Maple Leafs absolutely have to find a trade partner for Mrazek if they want to get Jack Campbell signed. Right now, they’ve reportedly offered him a rather measly 3-year $2.75 million per season deal, which has to be seen as a bit of a ridiculous lowball offer. Campbell has certainly proven himself to be worth a bit more than that.
If that deal was to get done at the current number, it might represent one of the biggest bargain non entry-level goalie contracts in the entire league.
Beyond parting with Mrazek, the Leafs would have to not table offers to some combination of Rasmus Sanding, Timothy Liljegren, Pierre Engvall, Jason Spezza, Ilya Lybushkin and Ilya Mikheyev or trade another roster piece.
There’s merit to both pathways in regards to trading a player or simply not renewing one the aforementioned, but either is still a rough choice when Jack Campbell has made claimed the net and won the love of the fanbase.
Nobody wants to see him depart this summer, but given how tight to the cap the Toronto Maple Leafs are; his new contract represents a really significant challenge.
Frankly, he might have to leave and get paid. Professional hockey players, after all, only have a limited time to maximize their earning potential.
Leaving Toronto would absolutely be bittersweet for him, but if that decision was made, it would be an understandable one.