Toronto Maple Leafs’ fans seem to be on general manager Kyle Dubas’ case all the time because of the salaries he’s paying his top players. Let’s leave William Nylander out of the conversation because his contract at one time seemed such an overpayment at $6.962 million. It now looks quite team-friendly. Let me take a look at the contracts on the Maple Leafs’ roster.
While Other NHL Teams Are in Deep Salary-Cap Trouble, the Maple Leafs Are in Much Better Shape
In July, the Vegas Golden Knights sent Max Pacioretty to the Carolina Hurricanes, not because he was not valuable as a player but simply because they needed to dump salary. And, the former Montreal Canadiens captain was expendable. With that move, the Golden Knights cleared $7 million in salary-cap space. Pacioretty had one more season left on his contract.
In contrast, the Maple Leafs are not caught in a situation where they have to move big contracts to stay salary-cap compliant. The team pays its key players high salaries, but they are far from in trouble with the salary cap.
In Fact, Some Say that Matthews & Marner Are Underpaid
The truth is that at least three of the core of Maple Leafs’ forwards make more than $10 per season. Auston Matthews has a salary-cap hit of $11.64 million, John Tavares has a salary-cap hit of $11 million, and Mitch Marner has a salary-cap hit of $10.9 million.
To show what the Maple Leafs are getting in bang-for-the-buck from these players, these should almost be considered underpayments. Matthews won the Rocket Richard Trophy for goal scoring, the Ted Lindsey Award as the NHL’s best player (voted by his peers), and also won the Hart Trophy. Marner has been an NHL All-Star winter for the past two seasons.
John Tavares Took Less Money to Come to Toronto
Tavares was paid for what he had accomplished with the New York Islanders. His salary is based on his past performance; but, he took less money to move to Toronto than he could have signed for with the San Jose Sharks.
Tavares is almost a point-a-game player since he’s been with the Maple Leafs and remains a consistent producer and averages 35 goals per 82 games. He also serves as the team’s captain. He’s a leader and a class act all the way around.
The point is that, for as many complaints as these contracts are given, they are far from overpayments. The team is receiving good production for the money paid out.
How that translates into postseason wins remains to be seen, but the table is being set.