It’s quite rare that there could be an upside to a team losing their top player but in the case of the Maple Leafs and center Auston Matthews, that may actually be the case. James Mirtle of The Athletic (subscription required) examines the pending benefit to Toronto’s salary cap for next season that has come about due to Matthews’ injuries. Due to the number of games he has missed, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that he will reach his $2MM Schedule B bonus and with the Leafs fully using long-term injury reserve, that’s essentially $2MM that they were expecting to have on their salary cap next season that shouldn’t be there now. That type of extra flexibility should come in handy this offseason.
Elsewhere around the league:
- The Kings have inked 2014 fourth-rounder Steve Johnson to a minor league tryout agreement, notes Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider (Twitter link). Johnson just wrapped up his four-year NCAA career with the University of Minnesota and collected three goals and 12 assists in 38 games this past season. Los Angeles has until August 15th to sign him to an NHL contract or lose his rights so it appears that they will use these next few weeks to help determine if he’s worth signing to an entry-level deal.
- Stars netminder Ben Bishop indeed reinjured his left knee on Sunday against Winnipeg, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News notes via Twitter. He missed five games earlier this month due to the issue and while he was initially expected to be re-evaluated in two weeks, Heika reports that a better idea of his timeline to recovery should be known on Thursday.
- The Sabres expect to get a better idea of winger Casey Mittelstadt’s plans by the end of the week, reports Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. Buffalo is hopeful that he will be willing to turn pro instead of going back to the University of Minnesota for his sophomore year and might be willing to burn the first year of his entry-level deal now in order to get him to sign. It will be interesting to see if today’s earlier news of long-time head coach Don Lucia departing the Golden Gophers will play a role in Mittelstadt’s decision.