While Jake Muzzin fit in nicely with the Maple Leafs last season and is off to a good start in 2019-20, Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic mentioned in an appearance on TSN’s Insider Trading that there have been no discussions about a possible contract extension yet. Toronto has a trio of notable pending UFAs on the back end with offseason acquisitions Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci and with their salary cap situation, there’s no way they’ll be able to keep all three around. LeBrun suggests that the plan may be to evaluate how each one performs over the first few months of the season before deciding who to try to extend. Muzzin carries a $4MM cap hit and will undoubtedly be seeking a sizable raise on that for his next contract. Meanwhile, Barrie is at $5.5MM (only half of which Toronto is covering) while Ceci checks in at $4.5MM. The Leafs already have more than $65MM in commitments to just 11 players for 2020-21.
More from the Atlantic Division:
- In his latest 31 Thoughts column, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman notes that the Canadiens continue to be on the lookout for a left-shot defenseman and suggests they’ve checked in on Pittsburgh blueliner Juuso Riikola. The second-year rearguard has been caught in a numbers game this year and only made his season debut tonight where he was deployed as a left winger. Meanwhile, Kevin Kurz of The Athletic adds (Twitter link) that Montreal has been closely scouting San Jose. Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Brenden Dillon are presently their top two left-shot defenders and while Vlasic likely isn’t on the table at this stage, Dillon, a pending UFA, could be a speculative target if they’re keeping an eye on their defensemen.
- The Red Wings will likely be without a trio of veterans on Thursday night. Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reports (Twitter link) that defensemen Danny DeKeyser (mid-body injury) and Patrik Nemeth (illness) as well as winger Adam Erne (upper-body injury) are all doubtful to suit up against Calgary. While that would leave only six defensemen on the active roster, head coach Jeff Blashill acknowledged that they could dress seven which suggests a roster move or IR placement could be forthcoming.