With training camps opening next week, the Toronto Maple Leafs still haven’t agreed with Rasmus Sandin on a new contract. Some observers wonder how they’ll clear sufficient salary-cap space to make room for the restricted free agent defenseman.
Sandin, 22, is coming off his entry-level contract and lacks leverage in negotiations with Leafs management other than refusing to report to camp. On Aug. 17, Sportsnet’s Luke Fox reported the blueliner’s agent claimed negotiations were “going nowhere.” Nearly a month later, there’s little signs suggesting the two sides are drawing closer to a deal.
According to Cap Friendly, the Leafs sit almost $1.5 million above the $82.5-million salary cap for the coming season. The Athletic’s Jonas Siegel suggested the Leafs could start the season with a 20-man roster until Sandin signs. Once he’s under contract, they’ll have to make a cost-cutting move or two to become cap compliant.
Alex Kerfoot has been mentioned in the past as a trade candidate. He carries an average annual value of $3.5 million and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
The Leafs’ recent signing of Zach Aston-Reese to a professional tryout offer suggests he could be a potential replacement for Kerfoot. However, the Toronto Sun‘s Terry Koshan believes if they intended to move him they would’ve done it by now.
Justin Holl ($2.4-million cap hit) has been mentioned as a trade candidate since last season. Siegel doesn’t like the idea of moving the 28-year-old defenseman but believes he could be the most likely option.