Toronto Maple Leafs may have exposed salary cap loophole that will allow them to sign top prospect and add a goaltender

Published April 9, 2023 at 1:41 PM

If nothing else, the Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the best teams in the NHL when it comes to finding a way to get around the salary cap. The Maple Leafs have invested millions of dollars into both their analytics and salary cap departments. While the Leafs aren't able to financially flex their might on the ice due to the salary cap, they've signed some of the brightest hockey minds to find unique ways to get around the cap.

With the recent injury to Leafs' goaltender Matt Murray, the team finds themselves in a precarious position. The injury occurred during the final 10 games of the NHL season, which prevents the Leafs from placing Murray on long-term injured reserve, creating a problem in goal. In most case the Maple Leafs would simply emergency recall another goalie from their minor league affiliate. The problem with that however, is the Maple Leafs have left themselves with JUST enough cap space to sign their top prospect Matthew Knies.

So last night ahead of their game against the Montreal Canadiens, the Maple Leafs opted to sign Jett Alexander, a University of Toronto goalie, to a 1-day amateur contract. This move allowed the Leafs to remain under the salary cap and not expend any of the money reserved for Knies. But according to the crew at CapFriendly, there might be even more to this surprising move.

The #LeafsForever currently have $28,750 in LTIR cap space. This essentially gave them the choice of Simmonds or Woll for tonight.

With $28,750 in LTI space. This also gives them just enough space to sign Knies after sending down Simmonds. The contract would have to have no performance bonuses to fit under the cap, though.

We also believe (and are trying to confirm) it opens up the opportunity to sign Knies AND recall Woll:

1. Play tonight short, creating emergency situation
2. Send Simmonds down
3. Sign Knies
4. Recall Woll with $0 cap hit REE

The order of operations is important here.

Now it appears the Maple Leafs are in a very desperate spot here and cap space is certainly at a premium. But for the average fan this is another reason why the salary cap is so widely hated. A fan shouldn't require a degree in the salary cap to try and understand the roster moves their favourite team is making. However, this truly appears as an example of the Maple Leafs exploiting the emergency backup opportunity to ensure that they can have their cake and eat it too.
April 9   |   115 answers
Toronto Maple Leafs may have exposed salary cap loophole that will allow them to sign top prospect and add a goaltender

Do you think the Maple Leafs should have been able to use an EBUG last night?

No, they had the cap space make them play a goalie3631.3 %
Yes, it's in the cap use it your advantage4640 %
Just get rid of the cap.3328.7 %
Latest 10 stories