Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 09/27/13 at 05:30 AM ET
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
Even though Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis has only just solidified his lineup for this season-signing defenceman Cody Franson to a cap-friendly $2-million, one-year deal on Thursday-he’ll have to start charting the road ahead immediately. And if you’re a fan of this version of the team, don’t get too comfortable. Nonis has plenty of big decisions looming in the coming year, and change is inevitable.
Call it the cold, hard reality of the salary cap.
The NHL’s latest projections for 2014-15 have the ceiling being set at roughly $67-million, which would put Toronto in a tough spot. It’s hard to imagine there being enough money to spread among the eight pending unrestricted free agents and four restricted free agents now on the books. Some of the decisions could come in the near term, too — either in the form of trades or contract extensions.
The latter would mark a change in approach for Leafs management for a group that has not faced many summers as tricky as the next one looks to be. “In the past, you never negotiated contracts during the season but at this point in time, you may have to start,” said assistant GM Claude Loiselle.
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