Matt Murray positioned on long run IR, however particulars are murky

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The Maple Leafs now have essentially the most streamlined answer to Matt Murray’s hefty cap hit and their crowded crease image, however getting there raises a couple of questions.

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On Wednesday they moved the goaltender to Lengthy Time period Injured Reserve previous to the beginning the 2023-24 season, which saves them Murray’s $4,687,500 US cap hit and forgoes a buyout that may’ve been costly down the street.

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However the LTIR designation got here two months after Murray appeared absolutely recovered from a late-season concussion, when he was nicely sufficient to be thought of for a playoff begin as soon as Ilya Samsonov was harm within the sequence Florida in opposition to sequence.

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Wednesday’s LTIR designation, a one-sentence launch from the membership, got here with none particulars of whether or not it was associated to his head damage or earlier ankle and adductor muscle issues which additionally restricted his enjoying time final yr. A name to his agent, Robert Hooper, was not instantly returned.

The league reserves the correct to have an unbiased physician make a medical willpower in LTIR circumstances in some unspecified time in the future within the occasion they deem it applicable or vital.

Murray was a full observe participant at season’s finish, however by then relegated to No. 3 behind Samsonov and rookie Joseph Woll.

Whereas Murray would now have a protracted interval to get absolutely wholesome, the transfer led to many nudge-nudge, wink-wink social media references to him being despatched to ‘Robidas Island.’ That time period was coined within the autumn of 2015 when match trying Leaf defenceman Stephane Robidas mysteriously went to LTIR on the eve of standard season, fixing a cap/roster difficulty on the time. When he lastly spoke a yr later after retirement, Robidas insisted a wear-and-tear knee damage had develop into obvious and necessitated his departure.

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The Murray announcement got here at 12 midday, the hour many anticipated he’d be positioned on waivers if it was Toronto’s intention to purchase out the ultimate yr of his contract by Friday afternoon. But when his medical situation is verified, the Leafs can put the financial savings, together with these of long-idled defenceman Jake Muzzin ($5.625 million), to make use of for different contract enterprise as they try to erase the present estimated $12.4 million extra on the cap.

At the least one different participant deletion, probably through commerce, is anticipated when camp concludes in October to get them cap compliant. Shopping for out Murray wouldn’t have harm the Leafs a lot this season, however would have carried a bigger $2 million hit in ‘24-25.

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Whereas it may’t be stated Murray is thru in Toronto, it might appear the short-term goaltending plan is ready. Samsonov, who was simply awarded $3.55 million by an arbitrator in a one-year deal, is the probably No. 1, backed by Woll, who can longer be moved forwards and backwards from the AHL Marlies with out going by means of waivers.

Common supervisor Brad Treliving may also search a less expensive skilled netminder who could be superb with minor league time.

Murray, 29, is a two-time Stanley Cup winner with Pittsburgh. He had excessive hopes of being the ace when Toronto traded with Ottawa for his providers a yr in the past, however bumped into damage points which had additionally plagued his time with the Senators.

When at 100%, he carried out nicely with a document of 14-8-2 and a .903 save share.

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Treliving and assistant Brandon Pridham, his contract specialist, can now flip full consideration to re-signing two of the group’s Core 4 forwards, William Nylander and Auston Matthews, whose offers expire after the season.

However Nylander particularly is alleged to be a troublesome negotiation that has utterly stalled. The 40-goal proper winger seeks a reported $10 million in AAV on a long-term deal, the Leafs providing at the very least $1 million much less.

On Wednesday, centre Sebastien Aho of the Carolina Hurricanes, a participant typically in comparison with Nylander in a contractual, expertise and offensive manufacturing sense, agreed to eight years with an AAV of $9.75 million.

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