Riley, Hyman, Hamilton and more

In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs News and Rumors, I’ll be teaming up once again with longtime Maple Leafs fan Stan Smith, to review and comment on some of the news and rumors emerging from the team. There seem to be two rumors constantly popping up in different places: one that Zach Hyman is leaving the team and one that Dougie Hamilton may come to Toronto. We will comment on both.

Related: Maple Leafs news and rumors: Abramov and Calgren’s prospects

Item 1: Maple Leaf Tracking Front Loading Salary History

Over the past week or so, we’ve been trying to take a more critical look at some of the issues hockey critics and fans have attributed to the Maple Leafs. Our research suggested that another snapshot might offer different insights. Specifically, we’ve looked critically at the assertion that neither the Maple Leafs nor any other team can win the Stanley Cup with the salary balance the Maple Leafs shared by signing the team’s Core Four side John Tavares, William Nylander, Auston Matthews, and Mitch Marner.

William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)

In yesterday’s post, we shared that Tampa Bay Lightning actually – due to the team’s unique and favorable tax situation in Florida – has a $5 million advantage over Maple Leafs that they can use to add additional players. Our additional research shows that other teams, such as the Lightning and Maple Leafs, have been successful in winning the Stanley Cup with a similar percentage of salary cap expenditures in a few players.

For example, when the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2015-16, they had $32,250,000 from the top four (and the maximum salary in that season was $71.4 million). That was 45 percent of the penguins’ salaries. In addition to Lightning, when we broadened our view of the Lightning dollar for the salary cap, the top 10 Lightning players are paid $69.5 million for the cap, while the top 10 Maple Leafs are paid $65.5 million for the salary cap.

Related: Largest bust project for Canadians in the last decade

Incidentally, a commenter to yesterday’s post wisely added that Maple Leafs players have an advantage in favor in Toronto that Florida players don’t have. That’s right; It is a great advantage to play in Canada, specifically in Toronto. However, our calculations only indicate the effects of the maximum salary and not specifically the salaries of the player he takes home.

Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews
Toronto Maple Leafs Center Auston Matthews (Canadian Press / Chris Young)

The whole issue is complicated. However, it does point to the fact that the salary cap structure is a problem, but it is not the problem in itself. The biggest link to a team’s success in the playoffs is – as it should be – producing players who earn money. This is shown in how well the Montreal Canadiens (Quebec tax rate is 49.69) against the Vegas Golden Knights (Nevada tax rate is 31.92). Canadian players play hockey better and stop the Golden Knight attack.

Item Two: What Would Happen to Zack Hyman

This is a funny year for contract negotiations because the draft of the Seattle Kraken expansion will take place on July 21Street. Technically and legally, teams cannot sign the UFA before the expansion draft. If they do, the team must add that player to their protection list. Otherwise, they should allow them to become the UFA and allow them to talk and negotiate with other teams. Only then can they negotiate and possibly sign it. If a team wants to re-sign its UFAs, it must be careful not to breach the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement or expansion draft rules.

Zach Heyman, Morgan Riley, Mitch Marner, John Tavares
Zack Hyman, Morgan Riley, Mitch Marner, John Tavares of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Canadian Press / Jeff Macintosh)

There’s no way the Maple Leafs and Agent Zack Hyman haven’t spoken to each other yet. Hyman knows exactly what the Maple Leafs are willing to pay and the team knows what to expect Hyman. Furthermore, the Maple Leafs team knows they can’t sign it before the expansion draft.

As it stands, even if Hyman knew he wanted to get back the amount of money the team had offered, if he followed the rules he wouldn’t be able to say it. And the team certainly won’t reveal a handshake agreement. As a result, we can see that both sides might be happy enough to be silent. Hyman would talk to Seattle or other teams to see how much they were willing to offer, and then sit down to see if he could strike a deal that would make both sides happy and would keep him as Maple Leaf.

Related: NWHL Roundup: Beauts Trade’s #1 Pick, Abundant Signatures, and Whale Name New GM

If that were the case, there would be no reason to silence any rumors that Heyman might be leaving or that he is ready to play for another team. These existing rumors and speculations only support the fact that the writers got involved in everything. There is no hint in our comments that there is a ruse in these negotiations, only that both sides are benefiting because the rumors are there.

Item Three: Doji Hamilton set a price

earlier this week, Elliot Friedman reported on Sportsnet’s 590 Fan radio “Lead Off” shows a common interest between Dougie Hamilton and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Then we learned from two sources from Sportsnet (Chris Johnston and Luke Fox) that Hamilton’s agent JP Barry has been in conversation with a number of NHL clubs and that that Hamilton was looking for a long-term deal Starting at about $8 million a season.

Doji Hamilton Carolina Hurricanes
Dougie Hamilton, Carolina Hurricanes (Photo by Greg Forwerk/NHLI via Getty Images)

While Hamilton is a great offensive defensive man who might also grow into a good defensive lineman, his $8 million order appears to have priced itself out after the Maple Leafs were able to sign him. To sign him for $8 million, General Manager Dubas will likely hope Alex Kervot will go to Seattle on the expansion draft, allow Zack Hyman to sign elsewhere, and trade with Morgan Rielly during the holiday period. Given that Sportsnet’s Luke Fox thinks Rielly is a “heart and soul” part of the team’s roster, there’s a lot to give up.

If he were to become part of the Maple Leafs roster, he would have to be willing to sign for about $6 million and his desire to play for Mape Leafs should replace his desire for the money. It is possible that Hamilton is more suitable for maple leaves than Riley. If Hamilton were to play on the right side, the team could use Hamilton, Hall and Allegrain on the right and Muzin, Sandin and Dermot on the left. Brodie can effectively play either side. In the past few seasons, the team has been heavy on the left side, and replacing Riley with Hamilton would balance both teams.

What’s next for maple leaves?

There was a lot of energy expended blaming Mitch Marner and, to a lesser extent, Austin Matthews for their lack of production in the playoffs. Until the Canadians’ 4-1 win last night over the Golden Knights, I didn’t really appreciate the Canadians’ preparation for the playoffs. They’ve packed all the crimes of the Maple Leafs, the Winnipeg Jets, and now the Golden Knights.

Related: Maple Leafs News: Who appeared?

It’s time for me to give credit when credit is due. Carey Price is simply Carey Price, but Canadians are poised, poised, and stifled. They prove that the team with the best players doesn’t always win. I wonder what driving Maple Leafs out of the ice is learning and how they will respond.

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