Ryan Reaves Days in Toronto May Already Be Numbered

Published September 23, 2023 at 8:02 PM
The Toronto Maple Leafs made a conscious effort to become a more physical and tough team. One of their biggest signings in this regard was Ryan Reaves. However, new reports suggest his stay in Toronto could be a short one.

Maple Leafs Need Salary Cap Flexibility

The Toronto Maple Leafs made some big moves this offseason. Bringing in John Klingberg, Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi, and Ryan Reaves. They also extended superstar Auston Matthews. This has led the Maple Leafs to be over the salary cap at the moment.

The Maple Leafs need to clear around 2 million dollars to get back to compliant with the salary cap. Toronto has a few avenues they can take to rectify this.

They could make a trade, cut their roster size to 20 instead of 23, or they could send down a player with a bigger cap hit to keep more players around. This is where things get tricky with Reaves.

Reaves Already On His Way Out Of Toronto?

Ryan Reaves signed a 3-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs this offseason. He was tasked with being a tough guy enforcer to help bring a better culture and make the team tougher to play against. His cap hit of $1.35 million has been talked about a lot over the last couple of days.

The 36-year-old is signed for 3 seasons at that cap hit which is a lot for a player that plays his role in today's NHL. There have been suggestions that Reaves could be sent down to create more flexibility for the Maple Leafs. The only problem is that every team could have a chance at claiming Reaves if he were sent down.

While it is unlikely that Reaves is claimed by another team it would be a huge embarrassment if he was. The Maple Leafs would lose a lot of their toughness and improved culture that they promised fans.

The trade-off is the money used on Reaves frees up this year and in the future. If the Maple Leafs can stomach the personal embarrassment of the situation having Reaves claimed from a practicality standpoint might actually be good.

Unless there's a trade ahead of time, I still think Reaves hits waivers early on as a pure flexibility move.

He won't get claimed with his contract. He's not an 82-game player and the Leafs would be forced to play the exact same players if he's part of a 20-man roster.

As the preseason continues it will be interesting to see how the Maple Leafs get salary cap compliant. If the plan involves Reaves questions will certainly need to be answered by Brad Treliving.

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