The argument against Chychrun:
While Chychrun’s AAV is reasonable, the Leafs are right up against the salary cap ceiling. As such, they would understandably want to unload a player or players with a comparable — if not higher — cap hit.
One frequently mentioned choice to move would be Justin Holl with his $2 million AAV, although you have to wonder if the Coyotes would be willing to take on a player who has been repeatedly criticised (at least within Southern Ontario). Another possibility is forward Alexander Kerfoot, who carries a cap hit of $3.5 million; fellow forward Ilya Mikheyev and his AAV of $1.645 million is yet another option.
Even pending moving one or more of the aforementioned players, the Leafs will still find themselves in financial difficulty moving forward. And this is despite taking into account Phil Kessel’s retained salary of $1.2 million comes off the wage bill after this season, along with the reported modest rise of $1 million for the 2022-23 salary cap (pending the implications of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases).
This is because once the 2021-22 campaign concludes, Toronto will need to replace or re-sign the players who become free agents. Chief among these will be Jack Campbell.
There is no denying Campbell will be in high demand, with him in line to see a considerable rise to his current annual salary of $1.65 million. It has taken the Leafs a long time to find a true number one goaltender, and you imagine they will do everything possible to retain him.