The Toronto Maple Leafs Top 5 Mistakes of the Summer

Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan talks to the press during a press conference at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan talks to the press during a press conference at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Ryan Reaves #75 of the Minnesota Wild checks Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs   (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

Wasting Cap Space

While it’s hard to believe that the Toronto Maple Leafs actually made a worse move than going to arbitration with their starting goalie, they actually made two of them.

The second worst move of the summer was the combined $11 million dollars of wasted cap space they handed out in free-agency.

While letting the majority of their RFAs walk in free-agency was a solid move, the players they signed ruined any progress letting the likes or O’Reilly, Schenn and Bunting go made.

The Leafs should have just promoted young players and waited until March to make moves, but it seems incoming general manager Brad Treliving was desperate to put his own stamp on the team.

John Klingberg got $4.15 million. 

Max Domi got $3 million.

David Kampf recieved $2.4, and finally, Ryan Reaves received an egregious $1.35.

Combined it’s $10.9 million for four players who likely won’t be any better than replacement players the Leafs could have called up from the AHL.

If the Leafs had of just promoted Roni Hirvonen, Topi Niemela, Alex Steeves and Nick Abruzzese they would have been able to sign Ilya Samsonov and have money left over for the trade deadline.

If any of those players struggled, the Leafs would have Bobby McCann, Nick Robertson, Ty Voit and Fraser Minten to audition.  Who they used doesn’t matter – the extra cap space is worth more than anything you can hope to get out of Domi or Klingberg.

As for Ryan Reaves, it’s such a stupid signing that it’s indefensible.

Instead of playing it cool and learning about what they might already have, they committed to playing players who might be worse than guys now stranded in the AHL.

They signed a whole slew of depth players for over twice what they could have paid, and are now forced to trade TJ Brodie or William Nylander to get under the cap.

This is a horrendous move that is indefensible.  The results might turn out OK – there’s always a chance. But this is about process, not results.  If you always follow the right process, you’re protected from bad luck because over time you will come out ahead.

But this isn’t the right process.  This is Old Hockey Guy 101.  This is overpaying for name-brand players with limited upside.   And it’s why the #1 worst thing the Leafs did is so obvious.