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 Maple Leafs /

Trading away Marner and Nylander for defensive help and financial flexibility

After an extremely underwhelming play-in series against Columbus, a lot of the blame seemed to be heaped on Mitch Marner and William Nylander.

Neither has been as strong in the postseason as they have been in the regular season.  The team should be considering massive changes this offseason.

This would be bold and would fly in the face of what Dubas has continually reiterated, but it may be the best way to improve the team and provide a bit of financial flexibility.  Marner makes nearly $11 million annually, and Nylander is near $7 million himself.

In trading for Ryan Ellis, the Maple Leafs get a sturdy number one defender.  Giving up Marner is a steep price, and there would likely have to be some draft considerations coming back to Toronto.  That will be helpful for a team without its first or third-round draft pick.

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Matthew Dumba is a smooth-skating defenceman who is a little undersized, but would pair nicely with Jake Muzzin to give the Maple Leafs a legitimate top-four defence.  Dumba is still just 26 and makes $6 million annually.

The Maple Leafs would no doubt be giving up a lot of offensive firepower in dealing two of their star forwards.  But it is painfully apparent that the team needs more balance in its roster construction and more playoff-ready players.

After getting outmuscled by Columbus in the qualifying round, the team may have been missing an old face who is excelling with Colorado.

In making these moves, and re-signing some of their players, the Leafs’ 2020-21 lines and defence pairings would look something like this:




Robertson-Kerfoot-Corey Perry*











This certainly looks like a more balanced roster that would be better suited for playoff hockey.  They would not score as many goals, but would undoubtedly keep more out of their own net.

light. Related Story. Examining Frederik Andersen’s uncertain future

What do you think the Toronto Maple Leafs should do in the off-season?  Do they blow it up or make minor tweaks?  Let us know in the comments below.