Toronto Maple Leafs: Former players still being paid by Toronto teams

Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images) /
1 of 3
Toronto Maple Leafs
David Clarkson of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

We take a look at the players from yesteryear who are still on the payroll for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Blue Jays and Raptors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you ask who is being paid by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Blue Jays and Raptors to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the short answer is, well, everyone. The virus has caused a complete shutdown of the sporting world on a global level the likes of which have never been seen before.

Interestingly enough though, the Leafs, Jays and Raptors have been paying some of their former charges to stay at bay longer than others. Whether you call it retained salaries or dead cap or long-term injury reserve, there are still some names from years gone by on the books for Toronto’s major sports teams in 2020:

Toronto Maple Leafs

All said and told, the Leafs have a grand total of eight players being paid to either play for another team in the NHL, or for a little extra spending money in their retirements. Residing on the long-term injured reserve are Nathan Horton and David Clarkson.

Horton is due the most money out of the group, with $3.6 million coming his way this year, but all of the salaries of players on this list do not count against the cap. Their salaries simply must be paid in full, and then they come off the books.

Clarkson is also owed more than $1 million this season. Given that he is out of hockey and coaching the Upper Arlington High School Golden Bears in Ohio, it’s safe to say he’s one of the most well-compensated high school hockey bench bosses around.

The real meat and potatoes comes with investigating the two players on the books who are still actively impacting the cap situation. The first is Phil Kessel, who last donned the Maple Leaf in 2015 but is still somehow being paid by the club.

In 2020, Kessell has taken a $1.2 million chunk out of Toronto’s cap and it gets worse. He will do the same in 2021 and 2022.

Only in the 2022-2023 season will the Kessel era in Toronto officially end. The Leafs partially fronted the bill for his escapades in Pittsburgh, and are now paying for his foray in Phoenix.

Another player still on the books is Robin Lehner, even though he never actually played for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Lehner was involved in a three-team trade in February which included the Chicago Blackhawks and Vegas Golden Knights; as part of the deal, the Leafs retained roughly $190,00 of his salary along with a cap hit of $1.1 million.

The irony in all this is the Leafs spent a majority of the 2019-20 campaign attempting to find a capable goaltender to backup Frederik Andersen. Other salaries retained by the Leafs this season are those of Dmytro Timashov, Trevor Moore, Michael Hutchinson and Nick Shore.