Toronto Maple Leafs: The Casualties of the Cap Crunch

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 9: Zach Hyman #11 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates with the puck against the Winnipeg Jets during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on March 9, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Jets defeated the Maple Leafs 4-3. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 9: Zach Hyman #11 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates with the puck against the Winnipeg Jets during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on March 9, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Jets defeated the Maple Leafs 4-3. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 14: Connor Brown #28 and Mitchell Marner #16 and of the Toronto Maple Leafs   (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Connor Brown

One of the best draft selections in team history was when the Toronto Maple Leafs selected Connor Brown with the 156 overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Brown would play two more years in the Ontario Hockey League after the draft winning the OHL scoring title with 128 points in 68  games with the Erie Otters in 2014.

After a season and a half with the Toronto Marlies he forced a call-up late in 2015-16 during the tank season and recorded six points in seven games.

Brown was then part of the explosion of rookies in the 2016-17 season where he collected 20-goals in his rookie season playing a heavy amount of minutes next to Auston Matthews, while also jumping up and down the line-up.

Brown was due for a new contract after his rookie season and earned a three year deal worth $2.1 Million per season which looked like a steal around the league.

With all the contracts coming into place for the 2019-20, GM Kyle Dubas had to figure out a way to trim some of the Toronto Maple Leafs salary cap.  He was hampered by a horrible contract signed by Lou Lamoriello with Nikita Zaitsev which was for $4.5 Million per season and still had five years left on the deal.

Dubas was able to get the Ottawa Senators to take on the contract, however the cost was that the Maple Leafs had to send Brown to the nation’s capital.

Losing Brown hurt the team as he had a cap friendly deal and could play anywhere in the line-up.  He would go on and help the Senators through their rebuild years providing the team with a responsible example for the younger players to learn from.

After a 16-goal season in the final year of the deal, he earned a three year extension for $3.6 Million and collected 21-goals in just 56 games of the next season.

Brown has had his career derailed slightly due to injuries as he missed almost the entirety of the 2022-23 season, however received a contract from the Toronto poaching Edmonton Oilers this past off-season.

Brown will join former line-mate in Zach Hyman.