Maple Leafs face significant issue with Morgan Rielly

Published August 4, 2021 at 1:13 PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs face a major issue. Morgan Rielly has one year left on his contract before he becomes a free agent, and his value has grown exponentially with the recent signings of defensemen across the National Hockey League.

Last week, we saw crazy numbers on free-agent blue liners' contracts. To sign Dougie Hamilton and Seth Jones, respectively, the New Jersey Devils and Chicago Blackhawks had to raise their cap hits to $9M AAV or higher. RFAs like Cale Makar, Zach Werenski, and Miro Heiskanen also made it clear that top defensemen were valued across the board.

This prompted The Athletic's Arpon Basu to speculate that Charlie McAvoy of the Boston Bruins will do the same or better when it comes time to re-sign.

Basu believes McAvoy, a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next offseason, will not sign for less than $10 million per year.

This is a problem for the Maple Leafs. Can you imagine Rielly's raise with all these contracts? Sure, Rielly once stated that he would take less money to play for the Leafs and win in Toronto. The Athletic's Jonas Siegel recently compared Rielly's offer to other offensive defensemen with similar stats, age, and experience.

According to ESPN, he is due roughly 8.86 percent of the salary cap, or $7.22 million per season.

That's a fair «open market» valuation for Rielly's UFA contract, which would likely be for seven years (with a new team). A year from now, Rielly's games played and points totals would be higher — and he'd be near the top of this group.»

Toronto has roughly $13.7 million in cap space for next season.

But with the new numbers, you can't blame him for wanting to see what other teams have to offer! And the Maple Leafs can only offer until a certain, and probably lower, number. It also depends on the contract's length... The Leafs must decide how much to pay an ageing Rielly.

But GM Kyle Dubas can't let him go for free. He needs to sign him quickly or trade him for assets. EditorinLeaf says:

«Rielly is 27 and has a $5 million contract. He's a top defenseman with one of the best contracts in the NHL, so the Leafs should be able to get a lot for him.»
But Toronto can't replace him, so the two sides could haggle over his contract...

Many questions about Rielly's extension for the Maple Leafs. How much does he want to stay in Toronto and at what price, and what will his value be after the season?

I'm curious where this goes... and if it will be soon.

Source: HockeyFeed
August 4   |   103 answers
Maple Leafs face significant issue with Morgan Rielly

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