Oliver Ekman-Larsson to the Leafs?!?!
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Oliver Ekman-Larsson to the Leafs?!?!

Straight from Leafs insider Terry Koshan.



The Vancouver Canucks sent shockwaves through the NHL this past weekend when the team announced that it was buying out the contract of veteran defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. It's a $19.5 million commitment from the Canucks to cut bait with Ekman-Larsson, a player who they traded for just two seasons ago.

While it was an expensive decision for the team to make, most fans and media analysts seem to be in agreement that it was the right decision to make. Ekman-Larsson's $8.25 million contract for the next four years was an absolute anchor around the neck of Canucks management and prevented them from making any meaningful roster changes due to their cap constraints. With him gone now though, the Canucks have over $6 million in cap space and the flexibility to remold their defensive core.

Now, there's speculation that the Toronto Maple Leafs may follow suit.

It's no secret that the Leafs are also in salary cap Hell, thanks mostly to the contracts handed out by former GM Kyle Dubas. So... who goes?

NHL insider Frank Seravalli reports that the Leafs have been considering buyout out the contracts of both goaltender Matt Murray and defenseman T.J. Brodie. Buying out both players would save the Leafs about $9.1 million in 2022-23. That's certainly a large chunk of money for new GM Brad Treliving to bolster his squad, but does he have the guts to do it? Say what you will about Murray, but he's still the most experienced netminder the Leafs have. Having said that, I think most Leafs fans would prefer to dress Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll over Murray next season. It's the final year of Murray's deal, so the long-term impact of buying him out would be just two years long. If they bought out Murray's contract they'd be on the hook for $2.6 million both this season and next season, rather than the $6.25 million they would pay him in 2022-23.

As for Brodie, welll... Leafs insider Terry Koshan poured cold water on that hot rumor by revealing that a source told him it's not going to happen.

I mean... OBVIOUSLY...

Brodie is a capable defender who may be slightly overpaid, but he still delivers value on the Leafs' back end.

More interesting to me from Koshan's reporting though is that fact that he states the Leafs may have interest in Florida Panthers blueliner and pending free agent Radko Gudas.

From Koshan's most recent article for the Sun:

The bearded one would have to make nice with goalie Joseph Woll after screaming in his face when Florida eliminated the Leafs, but with the physical manner in which Gudas plays the game, Woll likely would have a short memory. Gudas hits as often as some people breathe, a quality that the Leafs need on the back end.

- Terry Koshan

If the Leafs do indeed ink Gudas, I'd love to see Woll there at the airport to greet him...

Getting back to Ekman-Larsson though, Koshan also reports that the Swedish blueliner could be another option for the Leafs.

Again from Koshan's column for The Sun:

Is the man known as OEL, bought out by Vancouver, as effective as he once was? No. Could he provide minutes at a reduced cost? Yes.

- Terry Koshan

Listen.... as a guy who watched a LOT of Canucks hockey this past season, OEL is about 5 years past his best before date. The guy is so broken down that he just can't keep up anymore. Hard pass for any team looking to play with pace and speed.

Source: Terry Koshan