I didn’t even know this was a thing. In fact, the NHL probably made it up while the COVID-19 pandemic did a number and a half on the league’s revenue for the year. The NHL is implementing Escrow Debt into their CBA in order to keep the Salary Cap flat for at least the next three years.

The NHL owners and players each earn 50% of the Hockey Related Revenue (HRR) made every season. This year, HRR is down massively and if the players earned only half of this, the cap would be in the toilet and back to their 2005-06 days. See the tweet below for details. Instead, the NHL will be giving the players the same salary they earned this past year (more than 50% HRR would normally give them) in the hope that revenue will increase and that extra money will go into the owners’ pockets as payment. Debt 4 Dummies!

By the sounds of it, the players have a lot to pay off and this new CBA extension is meant to directly deal with it.

All-in-all, a flat cap for at least the next three seasons is a nightmare for teams that are looking to be competitive during this period and are quite close to the cap. Basically the Toronto Maple Leafs. Usually with contracts, their value improves as the salary cap increases and each player on an existing deal is making less percentage of the cap as they had the year before. There will be none of that for the Leafs. All four stars on this team will be taking up the same percentage of the salary cap as they did this season and there won’t be any free space to add pieces around them. I don’t know what this does to newly expiring deals like Frederik Andersen and Morgan Rielly in the next two seasons, but surely it means they’ll be forced to ask for less? One can only hope.

For more on the CBA and the NHL’s leaked plans for next season, Katya has all the details in the link below.

“This adjustment to the previously reported offseason calendar means a few things. The draft will need to be fit in there rapidly after the Stanley Cup Final, and the whole process of qualifying offers for RFAs is going to be accelerated. There has to be a buyout window in there somewhere, and really, they need two of those.” - Katya, Pension Plan Puppets

Report: Next season might start this year

Also at the site, the big debate on the value of Travis Dermott. The 23-year-old is stuck between a rock and a hard place. He’s good, but not quite good enough for the top-four. He has two veterans ahead of him, and two rookies rising fast behind him. The space for him in the middle is going to quickly close, and how the Leafs deal with it will be very important. For now, maybe he can play right side?

“From a scouting perspective, Dermott is known for his skating agility and aggressive style in the neutral zone. He tends to want to get right up into opposing forwards’ faces as they try and carry the puck in, trusting his mobility to make sure he doesn’t get beaten wide. His mobility helps him in zone exits, where microstats tracking has generally painted him as a good, if unspectacular puck mover. As his point totals suggest, he’s not an offensive dynamo in terms of individual shot contributions or passing.” - Arvind, Pension Plan Puppets

Top 25 Under 25: Travis Dermott keeps us guessing at #8

Emily Sadler did a preview for the Leafs training camp as they head towards Bubble Playoffs. It goes through the team’s injuries, roster options, and whether Andersen is going to be voodoo or not.

“Let’s rewind to last season for a minute, when the Maple Leafs went into the playoffs with a penalty kill percentage very close to what it is today: 79.9 percent. The Leafs then managed a measly 56.3 percent success rate on the penalty kill against the Bruins last spring, killing just nine of Boston’s 16 power plays, and were even worse at home: Toronto killed just 28.6 per cent of their penalties at Scotiabank Arena. That cannot happen again this year when they take on the Blue Jackets in the qualifying round.” - Emily Sadler, Sportsnet

Phase 3 Training Camp Preview: Can Frederik Andersen go the distance?

Last night, I partook in the now annual Scouching Mock Draft on friend-of-the-blog Will Scouch’s Youtube channel. A group of 31 people picked three rounds of the draft and then discussed the results. It was a fun exercise that I definitely felt new to. I think I did okay? I picked three guys a team like the Leafs would love to develop into good complimentary players for them. I didn’t swing for the fences very much, which is probably a big flaw on my part, but I’m hopeful on my top pick, Marat Khusnutdinov, becoming a good top-six centre one day.

Moving back to the news, it looks like Edmonton could be seeing a new spike in cases as a hospital in the area catches an outbreak.

Here’s the list of which referees will be working the NHL Playoffs and in which city. Trevor Hanson was the referee in that playoff game between the Leafs and Bruins and will be in the Leafs hub for the tournament.

The NHL once again recycles another coach.

Breaking News: Kyle Clifford is really strong (no, not strong enough to trade a second round pick for a third).

And a Mark Hunter-era Leafs Legend heads to the Colorado Avalanche organization for next season.