Toronto Maple Leafs: Sorting out team’s salary cap issues

John Lilley, Kyle Dubas and Brendan Shanahan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
John Lilley, Kyle Dubas and Brendan Shanahan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO, ONTARIO – Frederik Andersen #31 and Tyson Barrie #94 of the Toronto Maple Leafs defend against Liam Foudy #19 of the Columbus Blue Jackets. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /

After missing the playoffs, the Toronto Maple Leafs will have to sort out their salary cap issues and we look at some solutions.

The Toronto Maple Leafs missed the playoffs this season after being bounced by Columbus in the play-in round.  Plenty of members among Leafs Nation are angry.

Salary cap issues are a reality for the Leafs, heading into the 2020-21 season.  Considering they have not won a playoff series in 16 years, how did they get into this mess?

And how exactly do they get out of it? It is clear the team needs a shakeup, and not just because of underperforming on the ice, but also due to a poorly constructed salary cap structure.

General manager Kyle Dubas seems committed to keeping the core together.  That seems impossible financially when taking a look at Cap Friendly.  So, where do the Maple Leafs go from here?

The Leafs currently have nearly $77 million committed to 17 players for the 2020-21 season.  This leaves them around $4.5 million to spend on filling out the final six roster sports.  That is not ideal.  They would have to fill in the roster with guys making $750,000 or less to ice the current roster.

That would include a lot of young guys who probably are not ready for prime time, and veterans willing to sign for the minimum as Jason Spezza was last year.  It also does not take into account the raises that restricted free agents Ilya Mikheyev and Travis Dermott will surely get.

So while it is possible to stand pat completely, it is not realistic.  The team has to make a move or several moves to get the books to balance, let alone improve the roster. Let’s take a look at possible options for the team to grow, while staying under the $81.5 million salary cap in 2020-21.