It seems like just last week, we talked about how the Leafs are in fact up against the cap, which is not quite what Kyle Dubas said at his post-season presser. He did say that they could create more space by making moves, and so he did.
How much space? That really does depend on the results of contract negotiations with various RFAs, including the newest, Evan Rodrigues.
Trading Kapanen removed his $3.2 million cap hit from the equation, but Rodrigues, an NHL roster player who is not waivers exempt, and has two full seasons in the NHL, is 27, but is an RFA with arbitration rights.
His qualifying offer will be $2 million, the same as his salary this season, so the Leafs have a couple of choices: They can negotiate a deal in the many weeks between now and the deadline for qualifying offers (likely October 6), or they can qualify him and either seek arbitration themselves, let him accept his offer or seek arbitration himself. He doesn’t have the kinds of statistics that would have got Cody Ceci a good arbitration award last summer (ice time and points), but he’s not going to get less than $2 million. Avoiding arbitration seems to be in the Leafs interest.
If the Leafs feel his worth is less than $2 million, they will likely negotiate with him and make a deal for a longer term than he’ll get in arbitration, as he’s only entitled to a one-year deal in a arbitration award.
Filip Hallander was signed to an ELC at age 18 in 2018. His contract slid the first year, and will again this year, meaning it will not expire until 2023. The AAV is 927,500 this season with performance bonuses, but only $778,333 straight up. The further slide will lower that as another signing bonus gets paid.
UPDATE: I fudged that because I hate doing this calculation. And now I don’t have to:
Newly acquired Filip Hallander will undergo an ELC slide this summer, reducing his cap hit from $778,333 to $747,500.— Earl Schwartz (@EarlSchwartz27) August 25, 2020
It also means he's under contract until July 2023, so he could be on the #LeafsForever roster for less than league minimum in the final 2 seasons of his deal
The offseason and speculative 2020-2021 salary cap calculations have been updated with all of that, and this is the result:
Post Kapanen Trade Salary Cap
|Name||Cap Hit (or Qualifying Offer)||Days in NHL If 2-way||Prorated Cap Hit||Projected Roster|
|Travis Dermott - one way||874,125||874,125||874,125|
I’ve just selected Rodrigues as the player to replace Kapanen on a plausible roster.
The Leafs now have room for 23 on the roster by using only the Qualifying Offer amounts for some of the RFAs. The improvement is $1.2 million in total.
Their offseason space has now grown to $9.758 million, which is enough to sign Alex Pietrangelo (probably) on free agent day and then find seven million or so in cap space after to make it fit on a short roster.
This won’t be the only move of the offseason, so this picture will continue to change as Kyle Dubas tinkers with his lineup.