A little late to the punch on this one, but it appears that the Toronto Maple Leafs have gotten themselves in a little bit of Salary Cap trouble. According to James Mirtle via Capgeek, entry-level performance bonuses to Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly have the Leafs $475,000 above league max, which will be slashed from next year’s available space.
Is This Bad?
Yes and no. It’s bad in the sense that you would think that Leafs management would know better than to get themselves in this mess. After all, the team was already looking pretty close to the edge before signing David Clarkson to what might be the worst contract of the Salary Cap era in July. The team consistently rode the financial waves from July to April, and didn’t get a heck of a lot out of it from a performance perspective. To have a bonus overage year in a season where you missed the playoffs isn’t the best of looks.
On the other hand, its $475,000. That’s less than league minimum, and less than 1% of next year’s cap. Consider that the cap itself is supposed to go up a couple of million dollars next season, along with the fact that the Leafs have four dead salary retentions (for a total of $2.5 million) coming off the books in Ben Scrivens, Matt Frattin, Colby Armstrong (!), and Darcy Tucker (!!!), and it doesn’t work out so bad. Besides, they didn’t end up like the Bruins, who are almost $5 million over.
This shouldn’t be a repeated mistake, though. Room should be left for Rielly to hit some of his bonuses again (he’ll only get better), along with any other potential entry-level deals that could end up on the roster full time.