Not much happened directly to the Maple Leafs on Wednesday, but a few things happened around the league that has ways of affecting the Leafs. So, let’s play a little: “How the NHL Affects the Leafs.”

First up, Roberto Luongo announced his retirement from hockey, breaking the news himself as only Strombone1 does.

His retirement is very sweet, funny, and very Lou. He spoke about the difficulty in just getting ready for games in his final season, his time in Vancouver, and him building a life in Parkland, Florida where so much has happened. It’s a must-read.

Luongo's Open Letter to the Fans

Question for the comments, what’s your favourite memory of Lou during his career? Was it from the 2010 Olympics, the 2011 Stanley Cup run, or a hilarious tweet? We’d love to hear it.

By announcing his retirement and not becoming LTIR’d, Luongo has given both the Florida Panthers and Vancouver Canucks cap recapture penalties. Vancouver would’ve gotten the full cap hit of $4.1 million, but since Florida retained salary in the deal, they have to take on some of the cost, too. In total, it’s about $3 million on the books for the Canucks for the next three seasons and about $1 million to the Panthers.

The $1 million shouldn’t be an issue for the Panthers, it turns out they cared more about the salary they’d have to pay than the cap hit anyway, the real loser here is the Canucks who now have $3 million in dead money on their cap.

As the days tick away and July 1st approaches, Vancouver’s bid to sign a right-handed defenseman has become harder and harder. If the Leafs have it their way, Vancouver will strike out on their first option (Tyler Myers) and their second (Jake Gardiner?) and come to the Leafs asking for Nikita Zaitsev a few days after the deadline.

Zaitsev has a $3 million signing bonus owed to him on July 1st and there appear to be lots of teams looking to bring in someone, anyone, to help their blueline. Long Live the St. Louis Blues’ Stanley Cup Victory.

The next bit of news that should affect the Leafs: Sebastian Aho. The young Finnish centre is in need of a contract for next season and his asking price has reportedly come in at $9.5 million for five years. Compare him to Mitch Marner (which may or may not be allowed), and it’s a much more realistic number for an arguably more valuable player (30 goal season, centre, still has a father named Patrick).

Aho has been a much better boy during these negotiations as well. It’ll be interesting to see what that gets him in terms of a contract at the end of the day. If all the other big RFAs (Aho, Mikko Rantanen, Brayden Point, Matthew Tkachuk) ignore Marner’s bloated asking prices and sign for something more reasonable, there’s a logic to the idea that it could cool the market and take leverage away from Marner’s camp.

Information has also started to bubble that teams are very afraid of offer sheeting other teams and don’t want it known that they are doing so for fear of hurting relationships. It’s a fair concern since there are only 30 partners available in the league to make a trade with and hurting one of those takes away options down the line.

Let’s just hope for Chris’ sake that it does cool the offer sheet market.

From the Puppets

Katya updated Toronto’s organizational depth chart, including everyone the team has rights to. It should be a helpful guide to start from as the team begins to sign and acquire more players to fill out the NHL and AHL rosters.

And in case you missed it, here is the list of whom among the Leafs’ RFAs the team tendered a qualifying offer to.

Other Leafs Branches

MLHS has a great transcript from a Pierre LeBrun interview with information on what the Maple Leafs are focusing on right now. Hint: it’s Mitch Marner.

Tim and Sid bring us back to conversations this website had in May and June, talking to Chris Johnston about what the Leafs could do should an offer sheet come calling.

From the Other Other Branches

The Vegas Golden Knights and Carolina Hurricanes made a trade yesterday. Erik Haula became a victim of the salary cap when he and his $2.75 million expiring contract was traded to the Canes in exchange for prospect Nicolas Roy. Roy was a very good player for the Calder Cup winning Charlotte Checkers, putting up 15 points in 36 shots in 19 playoff games, including three goals and an assist in five games against the Marlies in the Conference Finals. I’m not still bitter.

Also in Hurricanes news, welcome their new ECHL affiliate, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits! Best logo in hockey, bar none.