2022-23 Toronto Maple Leafs: An Early Preview

As the offseason for the Toronto Maple Leafs progresses we will periodically post what their roster will look like if the team began the season with only the players they have signed to contracts for the 2022-23 season.  

Sign up for our regular 'Maple Leafs Newsletter' for all the latest.

In this post, we’ll include just the contracts that are actually signed and listed on the Maple Leaf’s roster by Capfriendly. It will not include players who are on the Toronto Marlies roster but signed to NHL, or two-way contracts.  

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Campbell, Matthews, Marner, Rielly, the End

We will update the roster as moves are made and new contracts are signed.

Maple Leafs’ Forwards, Thus Far

The Maple Leafs have the following forwards signed and listed on their roster.

Maple Leafs’ ForwardsSalary-Cap Hits
Auston Matthews$11,640,250
John Tavares$11,000,000
Mitch Marner$10,903,000
William Nylander$  6,962,366
Alex Kerfoot$  3,500,000
David Kampf$  1,500,000
Michael Bunting$     950,000
Wayne Simmonds$     900,000
Nick Abruzzese$     859,000
Kyle Clifford$     762,500

10 Forwards at a total Salary Cap Hit of $48,977,116

Maple Leafs’ Defense, Thus Far

The Maple Leafs have the following defensemen signed and listed on their roster.

Maple Leafs DefensemenSalary-Cap Hits
Morgan Rielly$ 7,500,000
Jake Muzzin$ 5,625,000
TJ Brodie$ 5,000,000
Justin Holl$ 2,000,000
Mark Giordano$ 800,000

Total 5 defensemen at a total Salary Cap Hit of $20,925,000

Maple Leafs’ Goalies, Thus Far

The Maple Leafs have the following goalies signed and listed on their roster. 

Maple Leafs’ GoaliesTotal Salary Cap Hits
Petr Mrazek$   3,800,000
Erik Kallgren$     750,000

Total 2 goalies at a total Salary Cap Hit of $   4,550,000

Total of All Signed Maple Leafs’ Contracts

Bonus Overage (Liljegren) $ 212,500

Total Maple Leafs’ Cap Hit $ 74,664,616   

Total Players Signed 17

Cap Space Remaining $ 7,835,384

Considering Other Maple Leafs Roster Moves

If the Maple Leafs want to carry thirteen forwards, seven defensemen, and two goalies for a total roster of 22 players. They have five roster players to sign and just over $7.8 million in cap space to do so.  

Nick Abruzzese

The one question we have with the ten forwards listed is Nick Abruzzese. While we can see him having a chance to make this team out of camp, even though he is presently on the roster and did play nine games at the end of this season, it’s rare for a player that was the 124th pick in the fourth round of an entry draft to step right out of college onto an NHL roster. 

Nick Abruzzese Toronto Maple Leafs
Nick Abruzzese, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

We believe that it’s most likely he will spend the 2022-23 season with the Marlies in the AHL. But, because he is presently on the official roster we will count him until such a time the Maple Leafs remove him from the roster.  

Nick Robertson

Also, Nick Robertson could easily be penciled in as the eleventh forward. That would give the Maple Leafs eighteen players and eleven forwards. His salary of $796,667 would give the team $7,038,717 of the remaining cap space with four players to sign. 

Four Maple Leafs RFAs

The team has four restricted free agents on their main roster to sign. They are forwards Pierre Engvall and Ondrej Kase, and defensemen Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren. 

Related: Maple Leafs Mason Marchment: A Long Shot Worth Rooting For

The Maple Leafs have one other player signed to a one-way contract. Forward Joey Anderson is signed through the 2022/23 season for $750,000 but is presently on the Marlies’ roster.

The Number of Contracts Allowable

The organization has fourteen forwards, seven defensemen, and one goalie on the Marlies’ roster who are signed to two-way contracts, giving them a total of 40 players signed to contracts for the 2022-23 season. The limit for contracts in the NHL is 50 in total, giving the Maple Leafs room for ten more contracts. If they sign their four restricted free agents they will still have room for six more contracts in the organization. 

The Goalie Situation

We cannot see the Maple Leafs willingly going into the 2022-23 season with Mrazek and Kallgren as their goaltending duo. Goalie changes must be on the way. 

Erik Kallgren Toronto Maple Leafs
Erik Kallgren, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

We can’t help but think it will take close to the full $7 million in salary-cap space to get Engvall, Kase, Sandin, and Liljegren signed if the Maple Leafs do indeed plan on signing all four of them. That would mean they would have to move salary out dollar for dollar to address the goaltending situation. 

There are also their unsigned unrestricted free agents to consider. Unless any of them sign before July 1, they will no longer officially be part of this team. Those players include Jack Campbell, Ilya Mikheyev, Ilya Lyubushkin, Jason Spezza, and Colin Blackwell. 

Related: NHL Awards History: Oldest & Youngest Winners

Jack Campbell has to be considered the main focus here, and we would expect the Maple Leafs will do everything in their power to get him re-signed. Because of their salary-cap constraints, it has to be a deal that allowed them room to address other areas. Right now it appears to us to be a 50/50 thing as to whether or not the team can get a deal done and retain Campbell.

Jack Campbell Toronto Maple Leafs
Jack Campbell, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In Mikheyev’s case, we think the chances are less than 50% that the Maple Leafs re-sign him.  

Ilya Lyubushkin

What happens with Ilya Lyubushkin will be determined by his value on the open market. We consider him an upgrade over Justin Holl. He’s two years younger than Holl, and he played ahead of him in the lineup during the playoffs. For Lyubushkin to work, he would have to sign for similar money to Holl.

Colin Blackwell

We don’t expect Colin Blackwell’s signing to be a priority for the Maple Leafs.  While he didn’t play badly for the team when he came over in the Giordano deal, he didn’t have a major impact. We could see his roster spot being used to give someone from the Marlies a shot. 

Congratulations to Jason Spezza

Suddenly, just prior to publishing this post, the news came out that Jason Spezza had retired as an active player to join the Maple Leafs’ front office. We will have an upcoming post on that story. (from “Jason Spezza announces retirement to join Maple Leafs front office,” Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun, 29/05/2022). 

Related: The Best Late-Round NHL Draft Picks

Stay Tuned.  

[Note: I want to thank long-time Maple Leafs’ fan Stan Smith for collaborating with me on this post. Stan’s Facebook profile can be found here.]