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Martin Jones and The Leafs Cap Compliance Complications

Even after a relatively safe signing, the Leafs cap still needs some attention

While there has been loads of speculation swirling around the Maple Leafs recently, not a lot has actually happened in the past few weeks. Brad Treliving has recently taken his phone off silent mode and decided to add some goaltending depth.

The Leafs signed goaltender Martin Jones to a one-year deal with an AAV of $875,000 on Wednesday.

The 33-year-old B.C native played 48 games for the Seattle Kraken last season and put up a 2.99 GAA and a .886 SV% with three shutouts. Well below league average, but I suppose that’s why he was signed for less than a million dollars for a single year.

The logic behind the signing is sound enough. You get a grizzled veteran to serve as your third goalie behind Joseph Woll and Ilya Samsonov with a fully buriable cap hit to play for the Marlies and get called up whenever needed.

While this contract can be easily buried in the minors, the Leafs would still be $2.1 million over the salary cap. Although teams are allowed to exceed the salary cap by 10% in the offseason, they have to be cap compliant by the start of the regular season, which at this point is still two months away.

So what’s the next move to relieve another $2.1 million in cap space?

The Leafs' roster is currently listed as carrying thirteen forwards and seven defensemen. On opening night, they’ll likely shave it down to twelve and six, or possibly even eleven and seven.

In which case we could see someone like Conor Timmins, who carries a cap hit of $1.1 million delegated to the Marlies before opening night. Timmins was acquired from the Coyotes in a player swap that sent Curtis Douglas to Arizona last season. He played 25 games for the Leafs and put up two goals and twelve assists for fourteen points.

If Timmins is sent down, the Leafs still need to find another $0.97 million in cap space.

Nick Robertson, who is currently listed on Injured Reserve will likely also start next season with the Marlies, giving him time to develop before making the jump into the NHL full-time. His salary is $796,667 against the cap, bringing the Leafs within striking distance of cap compliance.

Then it really comes down to who Sheldon Keefe wants on his fourth line between Pontus Holmberg and Dylan Gambrell. Holmberg. While Gambrell is older and has some more NHL experience, Pontus Holmberg was able to get into some meaningful games for the Leafs in the second half of last season and put up some decent numbers on both sides of the puck.

After a few tweaks, it seems the Leafs are nearly ready to skate into next season with a refreshed roster. The main focus remains on Nylander and Matthews waiting to sign extensions.

Dave Felsbourg

Saturday, August 12, 2023

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