Numbers: why the Leafs can't sign a big name UFA

There is lots of rumors seeing the Leafs aquire top tier free agents like Gomez, Smyth, Kariya, Blake; and even second tier guys like Bertuzzi and Nagy. However, in an NHL governed by the salary cap, this cannot happen.The Leafs cap hits for next season:

Forwards
Tucker, Darcy – 3 million
Sundin, Mats – 5.5 million
Wellwood, Kyle – 0.875 million

Ponikarovsky, Alexei – 2.1 million
Bell, Mark – 2.167 million
Antropov, Nik – 2.1 million

Steen, Alex – 0.9 million
Stajan, Matt – 0.875 million
Devereaux, Boyd – 0.575 million

Kilger, Chad – 0.9 million
Pohl, John – 0.463 million
Newbury, Kris – 0.5 million

Ondrus, Ben – 0.5 million
Belak, Wade – 0.67 million

Defense
Kaberle, Thomas – 4.25 million
Kubina, Paval – 5 million

McCabe Bryan – 5.75 million
Colaiacovo, Carlo – 1.3 million

Gill, Hal – 2.1 million
White, Ian – 0.850 million

Wozniewski, Andy – 0.463 million

Goal
Toskala, Vesa – 1.375 million
Raycroft, Andrew – 2 million

Buyouts: Belfour 0.77 million

This is 23 roster players with a combined cap hit of 45 million dollars. The cap is expected to be around 49 million dollars. The Leafs will want to have a cap hit of about 48 million to give them wiggle room later in the season. This means the Leafs have 3 million dollars (plus the salary of the player sent down) to spend on July 1st.

But lets say the leafs forget wiggle room, go straight to the cap spending 4-4.5 million dollars a year, with a multiyear deal, on a forward like Kariya.
Well the leafs would be fine this season, but what about next season.

Sundin will want to resign for 5 million
Wellwood will want 3 million
Steen will want 2 million
Stajan will want 1.5 million
Pohl will want 1 million
Toskala will want 4 million

Tucker, Darcy – 3 million
Sundin, Mats – 5 million
Wellwood, Kyle – 3 million

Ponikarovsky, Alexei – 2.1 million
Bell, Mark – 2.167 million
Antropov, Nik – 2.1 million

Steen, Alex – 2 million
Stajan, Matt – 1.5 million
Kariya, paul – 4.5 million

Kilger, Chad – 0.9 million
Pohl, John – 1 million
Devereaux, Boyd – 0.575 million

Newbury, Kris – 0.5 million
Ondrus, Ben – 0.5 million

Defense
Kaberle, Thomas – 4.25 million
Kubina, Paval – 5 million

McCabe Bryan – 5.75 million
Colaiacovo, Carlo – 1.3 million

Gill, Hal – 2.1 million
White, Ian – 0.850 million

Wozniewski, Andy – 0.463 million

Goal
Toskala, Vesa – 4 million
Raycroft, Andrew – 2 million

It would cost the leafs 55 million to bring back the team, and I guarantee that the cap will not be 55 million.

So my warning to John Ferguson is, do NOT spend right to the cap before the season starts, and do NOT give anyong a multi year deal.


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