Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic: Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews is eligible for a contract extension this offseason as he’s set to become a UFA after the 2023-24 season. Believe that he still wants to re-sign with the Maple Leafs.
GM Kyle Dubas is in the final year of his deal and wasn’t offered an extension this past offseason. It’s a big year for many in the organization. A slow start is adding to the tension.
Sheldon Keefe could be on the hot seat but the Leafs may not want to pay his $2 million salary along with Mike Babcock’s $5.8 million to not coach. It’s going to cost $5 million a year if you want Barry Trotz to coach your team.
It’s too early in the season still for full panic mode in Toronto.
Firing a GM is more of an offseason move and not in-season. Big roster moves are generally done in June and not in November.
James Mirtle of The Athletic: The Toronto Maple Leafs should give coach Sheldon Keefe more time as he’s not responsible for the lack of scoring options in their bottom six or the lack of depth on the blue line after injuries to Jake Muzzin, Timothy Liljegren and Jordie Benn.
Have been hearing that Muzzin could be out for the rest of the season which would give the Leafs the ability to use his $5.625 million cap hit. When Lilegren returns he’ll take a portion of that, leaving them about $4 million in available space.
Underperforming trade candidates for the Leafs that would create more space are Justin Holl ($2 million), Pierre Engvall ($2.25 million), Alexander Kerfoot ($3.5 million) or Nicolas Aube-Kubel ($1 million).
The Leafs could be looking for a difference maker but they’ll need to be willing to move prospects or draft picks.
Potential defensemen rental targets who play right side include Vladislav Gavrikov, Damon Severson, Scott Mayfield, Shayne Gostisbehere, Dmitry Kulikov, Justin Braun, Kevin Shattenkirk and Troy Stecher.
They could also look for bottom-six scoring and maybe an upgrade on Erik Kallgren.