Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly is heading into the final year of his contract and with a $5MM price tag on his current deal, it’s safe to say that he’s heading for a sizable raise on his next deal. The blueliner spoke with reporters today including TSN’s Kristen Shilton to discuss his situation:
My approach this year is that I don’t really want to discuss it publicly. …You know how I feel about being a Leaf, but at the same time, it’s a business. But being a Toronto Maple Leaf is special to me. … I’m not going to put any rules on [my agent]. And I’ll take care of what I can do hockey-wise. That’s the best approach for me.
With the price tag for number one defensemen going up considerably this summer, Rielly’s camp could push for a contract upwards of $8MM. With nearly $68MM in commitments to just 14 players for 2022-23 per CapFriendly, they may have a hard time fitting that contract in with the Upper Limit likely only increasing by $1MM for that season.
Elsewhere around the hockey world:
- In his latest 32 Thoughts column, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wonders if the delay in discussions for Senators restricted free agent Brady Tkachuk is more about structure than actual dollars. Year-to-year distribution has become more important with a high escrow rate now while it declines in future years while signing bonuses and trade protection are always important elements in talks for core players. Tkachuk is only eligible for trade protection in the UFA-eligible seasons of a long-term agreement and he’s four years away from getting to that point.
- Canucks forward Justin Bailey will not be available at the start of training camp following a positive COVID-19 test, reports Postmedia’s Patrick Johnston (Twitter link). The 26-year-old played in just three games with Vancouver last season; he spent most of the first month of the year on the taxi squad before suffering a season-ending shoulder surgery. Meanwhile, GM Jim Benning also indicated that center Brandon Sutter is dealing with some fatigue with the team not fully sure of what the cause of it is at this time but ruled out the possibility of it being the COVID-19 virus.
- After the event wasn’t held the last two seasons due to the pandemic, the CHL announced that the Memorial Cup will return in 2022 and will be held in Saint John, New Brunswick, a QMJHL city. The event pits the host city against the champions from the QMJHL, OHL, and WHL in a short tournament that will take place in early June.