Maple Leafs could deal a blow to the Senators this summer.
Rick Madonik/Toronto Star  

Maple Leafs could deal a blow to the Senators this summer.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a decision to make, and it could have some real ramifications for their provincial rivals.

Jonathan Larivee

The Toronto Maple Leafs will have plenty of difficult choices to make over the course of this offseason, but there may only be one of those choices that could also have a direct impact on their provincial rivals.

Recently the Vancouver Canucks shocked many when they made the decision to buyout veteran defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson of his current contract, a move that comes with a massive price tag of $19.5 million over the next 8 years for a player that won't be on the Canucks roster.

While the move hurt the Canucks, one of the less discussed stories around the Ekman-Larsson buyout was the negative impact it will have on the Arizona Coyotes. Not only will the Coyotes have to deal with a minor cap hit of their own as a result of the fact that they retained a portion of Ekman-Larsson's salary when trading him to Vancouver, but more importantly it will cost them one of their 3 retained salary slots for the entire length of the buyout. In the case of the Oliver Ekman-Larsson buyout, that means the Coyotes have lost that slot for a whopping 8 years.

At any given time teams in the NHL may have up to 3 retained salary transactions on the books, something that is especially important for teams looking to get maximum value in return for assets they are trading away.

The Maple Leafs now find themselves in a similar position with veteran goaltender Matt Murray and a buyout of Murray would put the Ottawa Senators in the same boat as the aforementioned Coyotes, albeit for a much shorter period of time. As per Cap Friendly should the Maple Leafs choose to use one of their buyouts on Murray this summer, the Senators would lose one of their retained salary slots for the next 2 years.

That would leave the Senators with the ability to retain salary on only 2 transactions within that time frame, with the team only receiving their third slot back after Murray's buyout has run its course. The Senators would also be hit with a cap penalty of $229,167 in the first year and $666,667 in the second year as a result of the portion of Murray's salary they retained in the trade that sent him Toronto.