The Toronto Maple Leafs have a big problem coming their way.

Think about it. They’re in the middle of a mini-slump while Boston and Montreal are threatening to pass them in the standings. Next season has threatened to be a major cap crunch for a while now with no obvious relief in sight.

Let’s say the Leafs make some moves at this deadline and in the off-season that both frees up some necessary cap space for the signings they have to make AND helps improve the team — Hainsey and Gardiner walk as UFAs; Brown, Hyman and Zaitsev are traded for cap relief; Nylander is traded for Dougie Hamilton or Colton Parayko; Marleau develops a sudden and career ending allergy to hockey equipment.

Then the Leafs can re-sign Matthews and Marner to $13 million AAV each, and Kapanen and Johnsson to $7 million AAV each. They manage to sign hometown boy Wayne Simmonds as a UFA. Liljegren and Sandin each make the roster out of camp next year and form a solid second pair. Rielly finally gets that top pairing RD to make a top unit. They re-acquire McElhinney but also keep Garrett Sparks around to develop or trade depending on whether you like him or not.

Johnsson - Matthews - Kapanen
Moore - Tavares - Marner
Grundstrom - Kadri - Simmonds
Marchment - Brooks - Bracco

Rielly - Hamilton
Sandin - Liljegren
Dermott - Jensen


Have you seen the problem yet?

Who the fuck are we going to complain about and blame for everything that’s bad next year!!!

And don’t be a smartass and say Babcock, because the Leafs are also going to fire him and hire Quenneville or Keefe or something.

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