No, A Move Isn’t Necessary To Become Cap Compliant

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Samsonov’s agent, Don Meehan:

“Ilya plans to be in Toronto very soon, he’s anxious to get back and start working out. He was well-schooled (in prepping for the arbitration hearing). There are no hard feelings with the Leafs, now we move forward.”

That’s a great attitude from the goaltender, as the general consensus is that arbitration hearings can be brutal for players. Now, with a 1 year contract that will pay him $3.55M, Samsonov can enter the season primed to prove that he is a true #1 goalie in the NHL. If he has a great year he’ll do well on his next contract as well, as he’ll be an unrestricted free agent a year from now and will have all the negotiating power.

This award has a lot of people believing that the Leafs will now have to make a trade in order to become cap compliant, which isn’t the case.

Numbers are easy enough and you don’t have to be Brandon Pridham to figure it out. You just need to use the always handy “Armchair-GM Tool” at to figure out what the play could be moving forward.

One thing that has already been whispered around the water cooler is that Matt Murray is a candidate for LTIR, which is backed by the fact that he dressed in the playoffs after Ily Samsonov went down to injury, but stayed on the bench as Joseph Woll played in his first NHL playoff games. History would suggest that if Murray was at all capable of playing, the team would prefer to go with the veteran goaltender that has won two Stanley Cups over the rookie, that has amassed just 11 NHL appearances in his career.

Taking that as a sign that Murray was far too injured to play and under normal circumstances wouldn’t have even been on the bench as a backup, it’s easy to believe that he’ll find himself on the injured list once the season opens. Further to that, it’s generally believed that nobody in the Leafs front office is concerned about the cap situation they’ve found themselves in. Considering the fact that they are nearly $5.2M over the cap ceiling with Murray on the active roster, you’d have to believe that there would be some concern if he was healthy enough to play.

Which brings up to the actual numbers:

This roster is about $500K over the ceiling, but is a very easy fix if you just don’t play the standard 12F/6D setup. Simply demoting Pontus Holmberg and running 11F/7D until something gives is very easy to do. Also, this is a worst case scenario, as this is assuming that they exit their pre-season games without any injuries that would allow additional players to be held in the lineup on opening night. The fact of the matter is that injuries are common in the NHL and probably moreso in pre-season, because players aren’t as in sync and there are less skilled individuals on the ice that tend to make dangerous mistakes, so it should all work out in the end, but either way they aren’t in any kind of trouble in regards to the cap in the first place. Honestly, the trouble lies in their ability to ice a balanced lineup, but that has been a common theme for some months now.

Relax Leafs Nation, Pridham has your back.