The busy time of the NHL off-season rolls on this week. With the Expansion Draft and Entry Draft complete, the league now turns to free agency. You can find a full recap of our draft coverage in these articles below, and we have a new article with a deep dive on Matthew Knies right here.
Qualifying Offers are due to Restricted Free Agents today, and the Toronto Maple Leafs have a handful of them awaiting their offer including Nic Petan, Denis Malgin, Joey Duszak, and Veini Vehvilainen.
Free Agency for Unrestricted Free Agents is on Wednesday, and there’s a lot bigger names who need new contracts on that day, notably Zach Hyman, who is expected to leave for the Edmonton Oilers as the Leafs do not have space to fit his contract in under the salary cap anymore. There are several more players whose future with the team is unclear, including Frederik Andersen, Nick Foligno, Alex Galchenyuk, and 42 year-old Joe Thornton, who may finally elect to retire and no doubt be on future Hall of Fame ballots with his 1,680 NHL games played over 24 years.
The open question is who might be coming in to the Leafs on a new free agent contract (BRING ME DOUGIE, KYLE!). Kyle Dubas had another media availability at the Draft and indicated he is looking at all goalie options that can be paired with Jack Campbell, on the assumption Andersen goes elsewhere. He’s also looking for the usual undervalued veterans and project players like Alex Galchenyuk who was quite a successful find last year.
World Junior Summer Showcase
The WJSS is underway in Plymouth, MI and includes teams from the USA, Finland, and Sweden. Canada elected not to participate this year when the decision was required several months ago because of COVID issues and concerns. Several Leafs prospects are in the tournament this year, including the aforementioned Matthew Knies.
#LeafsForever prospect Matthew Knies isn't just physical, he has some offensive skill as well.— Nick Richard (@_NickRichard) July 25, 2021
Nice play to chip the puck around the defender and retrieve it before making a slick drag move to create a passing lane. pic.twitter.com/QTzbRqZXkV
Some of last year’s Leafs draft selections are also there representing Finland.
The full schedule is here and the games are all streamed live for free. Today is a day off, but games will resume tomorrow.
The Marlies released their 2021-22 season schedule on Friday with some interesting new opponents in the mix. The Marlies will be travelling much further and more regularly outside of the division and conference this season as the AHL begins a multi-year transition to a more NHL-style schedule which will have most teams in the league play each other at least once in the regular season, as opposed to now where teams in the west and teams in the east generally only play each other, and rarely travel across the continent. This year the Marlies will make trips to Chicago, Winnipeg, and all the way out to Abbotsford, BC, the location of the new Canucks affiliate.
One thing also changing on the Marlies is on the broadcast where commentator and former Maple Leafs player Bob McGill will be retiring to cottage country.
A massive Thank You to the Toronto Maple Leafs organization, LNN, and all Leaf fans for letting me talk about the game I love for the past 16 years! Hockey has been my life but I am excited to start selling real estate up in the Kawartha’s and spending time with family❤️ pic.twitter.com/SZFNX7EiQX— Bob McGill (@bigdaddymcgill) July 23, 2021
Finally, here’s Oilers GM Ken Holland explaining the salary cap.