The 2018-2019 roster for the Toronto Maple Leafs is is undoubtedly the the best in recent memory. The star power on this team is second to none (maybe one: Tampa Bay Lightning), but this iteration of the Toronto Maple Leafs can’t last forever.
As we’ve seen with recent Stanley Cup Champions, the ideal roster construction is to spend a large chunk of one’s cap on a few star players, and surround them with capable cheap options. You see this with the previous back to back Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, with stars such as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel eating a significant portion of the cap, and cheap reliable options such as Jake Guentzel (prior to his extension), Bryan Rust and Brian Dumoulin surrounding them.
Re-Signing Trevor Moore
Kyle Dubas’ re-signing of Trevor Moore signals to the fan-base that long-term roster construction will head in this direction (likely following the highly anticipated cap crunch set to occur this summer). The actual contract, 2 years, one-way and an AAV of 775,000 USD is the exact type of money we’d expect for a player who made his NHL debut earlier this year.
This is not meant to be a slight against Moore. In fact, despite the limited showcase, Moore captured the hearts of Leafs Nation. He showed off his speed against often lower quality opponents and his ability to generate scoring chances with equally low quality line mates. Over the next two years, expect him to develop into the type of player we’ve seen Andreas Johnsson turn into this season: a dynamic, skilled player who can play up and down the lineup. He is not an exception, and like recent Stanley Cup Champions, will not be the only player of this kind on the roster.
Extending Calle Rosen
This summer, Jake Gardiner and Ron Hainsey will both be free agents. With Gardiner and Hainsey potentially gone, Dubas will need to make some big changes on his blue-line. Recently, he provided a one-way extension to Calle Rosen. Rosen’s new deal stands out as another high value, low-cost move. Besides the aforementioned Moore, there is little debate as to who has been far and away the best player for the Toronto Marlies this season. Displaying incredible offensive upside and the ability to manage the puck in his own end, Rosen will almost certainly crack next year’s roster. With a 750,000 USD cap hit over the next two years of his one way deal, Rosen has proven that he deserves a serious shot at cracking the roster next year. With how he’s performed at the AHL level, it seems as though he will get that opportunity.
More Extensions To Come?
With Rosen and Moore receiving extensions from Dubas, you can expect many others to get similar looking contracts and opportunities. The often forgotten NHL player, Justin Holl could see chances on the deconstructed blue-line come training camp. Additionally, Marlies players such as Carl Grundstrom, Andreas Borgman and Jeremy Bracco (among many others) could get long looks at spots that may open up with the departures of one or more of Tyler Ennis, Andreas Johnsson or Kasperi Kapanen this summer (or at the trade deadline).
Dubas has begun to show the future of this roster and how it will be constructed. The stars of the Leafs’ current roster may soon find themselves surrounded by capable, young, and fast current Marlies in their bid to end Toronto’s Stanley Cup drought.
contract research – CapFriendly.com
featured image photo credit – Josh Tessler