Toronto Maple Leafs Salary Cap Situation Not Really That Bad

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

On Sunday, the Toronto Maple Leafs found out that the arbitrator’s decision on Ilya Samsonov’s case is a one-year deal worth $3.55 million. The team is now $12.3 million over the NHL salary cap of $83.5 million.

According to, the Toronto Maple Leafs are using $6,756,450 in LTIR Candidates. This keeps the team within the 10% they are allowed to go over the cap during the off-season. Assistant GM Brandon Pridham will continue to help Leafs GM Brad Treliving get cap compliant by the time the 2023-24 regular season starts. He might need to get creative.

If the Leafs can additionally put Matt Murray on LTIR to start the season, that will bring them much closer to being cap compliant. However, they would still be over $2 million beyond the cap, even without Murray’s full salary.

Pridham and Treliving need to consider having all waiver-exempt players start the season in the AHL.

Now, there is still plenty of time for a trade or two to happen and set everything right, but for now, one option is having Pontus Holmberg, Matthew Knies, and Nick Robertson start in the AHL. Doing so will leave the Leafs with 11 forwards, seven defensemen, and two goaltenders on their active roster. The Leafs could also choose to keep Knies and send Dylan Gambrell down, but he’ll need to clear waivers.

Toronto Maple Leafs Could Explore Other Options

Certain things need to fall into place, but as you can see, getting cap compliant will not be as difficult as some may think. Treliving has stated that he’s not done with the Leafs  defense, so there is a possibility that pending UFA T.J. Brodie might be traded. He has a $5.5 million salary cap, and Treliving might try to find a cheaper option on the trade market.

Treliving could find a possible replacement for Brodie from his previous team, the Calgary Flames. Chris Tanev ($4.5 million) and Nikita Zadorov ($3.9 million) are also pending UFA’s like Brodie but would help Toronto solve their cap situation. Zadorov plays a more physical game than Tanev does, but Tanev blocks a lot of shots. Either player could fit in nicely on the Leafs’ blue line, but if I had to choose one, I’d prefer Zadorov.

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Another option is to use a buyout on Matt Murray. The Leafs have the option to use the NHL’s second buyout window because they went to arbitration with Samsonov. A buyout for Murray would leave $687,500 against Toronto’s cap this season, and $2 million against the cap next season.