In today’s Crier Media NHL rumors roundup, the Toronto Maple Leafs will need to make tough decisions based on the salary cap. The Pittsburgh Penguins may be adding another Norris Trophy defenseman if they can find the cap space. Finally, there may be good news for Leaf fans in the case of one of their Russian prospects.
Maple Leafs Need to Shed Salary to Get Under the Cap
Nick Kypreos was shocked to discover that Matt Murray shared that he was healthy enough to play in the 2023 playoffs. He went on and suggested that this move placing him onto the LTIR was more than just about Murray’s injury situation changing. He points out that the two-time Stanley Cup champion is set to earn $8 million in salary this season, the last on his multi-year deal he signed with the Ottawa Senators. It may be a “Robidas Island” situation as Murray didn’t want to be bought out and LTIR works for all concerned.
“Matt Murray gets to protect his money. The Leafs get to get the complete cap hit off their books and the fans get to get their salary cap alleviated and don’t have to watch necessarily the Leafs panic, you know, with two months to go before the first preseason game. ” – Nick Kypreos
Some may see this as a form of Cap Circumvention; however, this situation has happened in Toronto several times, most notably when they placed Joffrey Lupul on LTIR despite him being seen snowboarding. Kypreos suggested the team could trade defenseman T.J. Brodie. Stating, “Well, is there a chance to fix the blue line? And what does that mean? When you look at certain players like T.J. Brodie with one year left on his deal. Is there a chance to move that money out and get a bigger defenseman in return? Maybe younger, remains to be seen”.
This begs the question, who could they find that is still available and can play over 21 minutes per game and perform well on a top penalty-killing unit? Brodie’s role is not that easy to replace.
Karlsson To Penguins Still Possible
Been almost a month since we learned Penguins were interested in Erik Karlsson. There hasn’t been a deal. So, what’s up?
— Rob Rossi (@Real_RobRossi) July 20, 2023
Rob Rossi of The Athletic, feels that the Pittsburgh Penguins stand out as the only viable team in the Erik Karlsson sweepstakes. They haven’t made significant roster moves in the past two weeks, which he sees as a sign they are trying to land the current Norris Trophy holder. Meanwhile, other teams such as the Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto, and Seattle Kraken, have made significant additions.
Also, the Penguins will have another window to buy out a player, which could free up cap space that would be needed for Karlsson to go to Pennsylvania. Rossi notes that Kyle Dubas needs to decide what to do with Jake Guentzel:
If the Penguins and Guentzel are open to continuing their marriage, a deal should come together quickly. At this point, it’s well established that all players — even a scorer as consistent as Guentzel — take a slight financial discount, usually in exchange for the added term, to stay with the Penguins. Crosby started that trend with his second contract, and everybody who has stuck around has since fallen in line.
A significant step was the discussion management had with their current stars, Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang. Both agreed in principle that the addition of Karlsson would be acceptable.
Amirov Says F Cancer
In 2020, the Maple Leafs made a shocking announcement regarding their then-top prospect Rodin Amirov when then-GM Kyle Dubas revealed that their 2020 first-round pick had a brain tumor. Now for the good news, Rinat Bashirov, Salavat Yulaev’s General Director, Salavat Yulaev, told Russian outlet Sport-Express that there’s a “positive trend” in Amirov’s recovery, but will be continuing treatment. According to Bashirov, the club believes Amirov will return to the ice at some point, although there’s no clear timeline.
— KHL TALK (@vorkywh24) May 10, 2023
Amirov has reportedly signed a one-year contract extension with the club this summer, which will allow the team to assist him in his treatment and recovery. Amirov’s three-year NHL entry-level deal will expire in the summer of 2024. At that point, Toronto will need to decide his future with the Maple Leafs.