The Toronto Maple Leafs Should Spend Tons of Money During Free Agency

Florida Panthers v Toronto Maple Leafs
Florida Panthers v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

We talk about the Toronto Maple Leafs being salary-cap strapped, but in reality, they have the ability to spend a ton of money this free agency period.

When you look at the roster, we all know that they have $46M tied to four forwards, but that number is about to drop after this season. As of right now, the Toronto Maple Leafs are only tied to $40M in salary cap for the 2025-26 season and with the cap rising to $88M and projected to rise even more, the Leafs have an ability to spend a lot of money this offseason.

Trading both John Tavares and Mitch Marner this offseason seems like a stretch, but it wouldn't be shocking if Marner gets traded and all of a sudden his $11M is off the books. If the team were to also move Calle Jankrok ($2.1M), David Kampf ($2.4M) and Ryan Reaves ($1.3M), Toronto could all of a sudden have an additional $17M in cap-space. Pair that with the $19M that they already have and the Leafs have $36M to work with during free agency.

Toronto would obviously have to replace Marner, Jankrok, Kampf and Reaves, but in reality, they may be able to do so without it costing them a lot of money. For example, Nick Robertson, Fraser Minten, Pontus Holmberg and Easton Cowan could be the four replacement players for the low price of $4M in total, leaving $32M to play with.

If the Leafs do trade Marner, they're most likely going to try to get a defenseman or goaltender in-return, which would still leave a gap in the top-six. Assuming the goaltender/defenseman matches up to Marner's $11M salary, we're now talking about $21M in salary to acquire either another defenseman and/or two more forwards.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Should Be Big Spenders in Free Agency

With Tavares' contract coming off the books in 2025, the Leafs have the ability to write a huge cheque to some of the top UFA forwards because they'll have all of that money to use for the 2025-26 season.

With that being said, this year's forward group is very strong headlined by the following players: Steven Stamkos, Sam Reinhart, Jake Guentzel, Jonathan Marchessault and Elias Lindholm.

Instead of being worried about a Tyler Bertuzzi or Max Domi, the Leafs should be writing a blank cheque to Reinhart or Stamkos, with hopes they would return North. Both players are former 50-goal scorers and are huge playoff performers, who would be unbelievable fits in Toronto.

I know that Marner is an exceptional player, but the Leafs have a chance to replace him with a similar skilled player, while adding a defenseman/goaltender to improve thier team as a whole.

There has been an issue around the Leafs spending $40M-plus on four forwards in the past, and by doing what I'm saying, they'd still be doing that, but the strategy of "studs and duds" has never been the issue. Instead, it's been who you've been paying because at the end of the day, if you have Auston Matthews, John Tavares, William Nylander and Sam Reinhart signed and have a stud defenseman/goaltender, your team is going to be very strong.


In fact, they'd have a legitimate chance at a Stanley Cup next year, so let's hope they stay true to this approach and don't spend their money on mediocre players like Bertuzzi and Domi and instead go "big game hunting".