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Armchair GM Thread 2020-2021

Started by CarltonTheBear, April 07, 2020, 11:25:26 AM

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We've gone from a potential $88mil salary cap ceiling just a month ago to a (likely) best case scenario of the salary cap remaining flat at $81.5mil because of everything going on. Not exactly great news. Let's see how that would effect the Leafs next season. This is our line-up of currently signed players for next season:




That line-up, plus of course of retained salary on Phil, gives us a total cap hit of $78.6mil. That leaves us with about $2.8mil in salary cap space.

There's still also a number of restricted free agents to sign, the key ones being: Dermott, Mikheyev, Gauthier, and Malgin.

Our UFAs include Barrie, Ceci, Clifford, Spezza, and the ghosts of Clarkson and Horton. Safe to say Barrie and Ceci are gone. While the Leafs may have had the intention of re-signing Clifford I think a flat cap will pretty much wipe that possibility out. I went ahead and plugged Spezza into the line-up at $700k again. If it's not him filling that spot it'll likely be another league minimum guy like Gauthier so for projecting purposes it doesn't really matter.

There's also still a number of cheap depth options signed including Petan, Agostino, Korshkov, Robertson at forward and Rosen on defence. I largely included Marincin over Rosen because he's $50,000 cheaper and it'll annoy Frank.

So based off that line-up we have two roster spots open to fit Dermott and Mikheyev in and only $2.8mil in cap space to make it happen.

The two most obvious options are as follows. 1) Trade one of the middle 6 forwards (Kerfoot, Johnsson, Kapanen, or Hyman) to create some additional cap space or 2) try and convince those RFAs to split that $2.8mil between them on 1-year deals. I don't think option 2 is really that far-fetched, especially considering all teams will be faced with similar challenges. I imagine basically every free agent is going to end up getting less money this summer than they would have expected to a month ago.

The 3rd option of course is to think a little bigger with trades, potentially packaging Dermott with a Johnsson or Kapanen in hopes of acquiring a top-4 RHD. But even in that case we'll be limited to a defender making less than $4mil so that option would seem really difficult to pull off. Quality defenders making less than that amount don't become available very often.

Obviously though a flat cap isn't 100% confirmed yet, but if it's what ends up happening I think any hope of improving our defence next season goes down the drain.

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