Thoughts of the Guru.
Well now that Connor McDavid’s contract is all wrapped up over in that winter wasteland of Edmonton, and the Leafs own Connor Brown has been signed to a very palatable deal. We can start to focus on Cap hits for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and what will happen during the next wave of contract signings here in the Big Smoke. General Manager Lou Lamoriello has completed some excellent negotiations when it comes to the contracts he has given out already. Nazem Kadri and Nikita Zaitsev signed to 4.5 million per year, and Morgan Rielly is at 5.0 per, while Connor Brown and Zach Hyman both collect 2 million and change each.
Here is the Cap Friendly breakdown of the current Leafs roster and where we stand as of today.
Now we look towards signing the ‘Three Headed Monster‘.
Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager, Lou Lamoriello, can’t negotiate with Auston Matthews or Mitchell Marner until July 1st 2018. Even as that statement is typed/read, the reality is, that Lou Lamoriello will himself be without a contract at that time, and may be in his early days of retirement and no longer a part of the Toronto Organization.
If Lou has retired, is that something we want? Do we actually prefer that one of Kyle Dubas or Mark Hunter have to negotiate these extremely important deals there first act of GM duties? My nightmares grow more intense with the image of Dubas giving Matthews more that Connor McDavid just to keep him here in Toronto. I can envision Auston Matthews agent (Pat Brisson) absolutley licking his chops thinking about going into a contract negotiation, with a rookie GM.
Yes folks there is potential that Lou could be gone, and we will have a rookie GM leading our team into the foreseeable future. Having said all of that, here is my ‘crazy idea’, Brendan Shanahan and MLS&E NEED to get Lou Lamoriello resigned immediately!
In my honest opinion, taking all factors into consideration, signing Lou to another 2 years would create the perfect balance moving forward. Two years will give the Leafs and Lou enough time to get the cagey veteran General Manager one last ring 😉 Just as important it will give the Leafs the time to get William Nylander, Mitchell Marner, and Auston Matthews all locked up to manageable contracts that will take the Leafs organization into the future.
Brendan Shanahan has done great assembling a talented group within the Leafs front office and also an organization full of players that finally includes depth. Now the real hard work beings of trying to keep everyone together, with reasonable contracts for the stars, and for the players who support those top line assets.
Most of us have Auston Matthews making as much as 10mil for his next contract. While William Nylander and Mitch Marner would be signed at around 7 million AAV.
It’s crazy that 1 year playing in the NHL has gotten them enough attention that we think this, but here we are. I personally would give Matthews 8 million per, over an 8 year term. In my opinion, he’s our next captain and our #1C that we have needed forever, this kid is a marketable star, and will be for the duration of that contract.
As for Mitch and Willy they are a little more complicated. William may move to center, once Tyler Bozak moves on to another city, so is Will’s camp fighting for a higher amount due to that idea? Let’s face it we will never draft a high end center again for a long time (if the Hockey God’s are on our side) and Nylander is our best C prospect we have period! (I don’t consider Matthews a prospect anymore).
Taking that factor into consideration is why I’m shocked Lou hasn’t extended Nylander already. Has Nylander done more than Nazem Kadri? We all see the potential but what is his number? Nylander has only played in the NHL for just over a season. In my eyes, I would like to see Nylander at 5.75 mil for 8 years. That contract would be a huge win for both sides in the negotiation. We bank on him being more productive, and taking on a bigger role, hence the big raise but he still has to prove himself.
Now on to Mitch Marner.
Here’s where it gets tricky. Marner played better than expected in his rookie year, and if he has a good year, his camp will want him signed quickly and if he has a down year his camp will wait another year to see what to do. This is not a bad strategy for his agents and probably what they do with every player in this situation around the NHL. But let’s imagine he has a stand out season. What would his Cap hit be? Should it be higher than Nylander or the same? I think they shouldn’t be more than a million apart in AAV as of today, but we have a whole season ahead of us to figure this out. So I will give him between 5.25 and 6 million AAV.
We can have fun and debate if my numbers are way out of whack, or if the contracts and terms are perfect and team friendly deals. But the main idea behind this entire piece is that Lou Lamoriell MUST handle these difficult contract negotiations on behalf of the Maple Leafs organization. When it comes time to put pen to paper, I have ZERO faith in potential Rookie GMs Kyle Dubas or Mark Hunter (who I expect will take over once Lou has left his role) to ensure the AAVs all align for the future here in Toronto.
What say you hubbers? What should the kids get for there next deal, and should Lou stick around for another 2 years?