The arbitrator has spoken. Faithful in delivering his ruling 48 hours after the end of Friday's hearing, the arbitrator has awarded a $3.55M one-year contract to Ilya Samsonov as reported by various media sources.

It was a surprise that there was no settlement before the hearing, and it is now a surprise at the dollar amount. There was talk of it being up in the mid-to-high $3.XM range, so $3.55M is a bit lower than the consensus expectation. Needless to say, the Leafs look to have gotten the good side of this deal from the arbitrator.

The Leafs now have a second buyout window which will open "on the third day after" this ruling, which would be Wednesday, and it will be available for 48 hours, however, whether they will actually use that chance to make another buyout is not clear, and it is the next big off-season mystery.

We know the Leafs are now over the salary cap, even if Matt Murray and Jake Muzzin are placed on long term injured reserve to start the season, so something else still has to happen to be compliant with the salary cap. A buyout of any particular player is never really a great choice for a team unless they are truly backed into a corner. If Matt Murray is healthy enough to play, maybe they are in that corner, but perhaps they can arrange a buyout somewhere else by trading assets; the Blackhawks have a second buyout window opening up now too with their arbitration award to Philipp Kurashev announced today too.

There's a lot of possibilities open now, and certainly still more drama to come. You can read more on that here:

Cap Hits Can’t Play Hockey
The Leafs have a cap space problem. That’s the widely held view, at any rate. But do they?