How might they accomplish that?
Well, one way would be to buy out oft-injured winger Joffrey Lupul.
The 32-year-old appeared in just 46 games last season, scoring 11 goals with only three assists. His last game was on Feb. 6. A few weeks later, he was shut down for the rest of the season, reportedly with a sports hernia. He has two years left on a contract with an annual cap hit of $5.25 million.
Of course, injured players can’t be bought out, and based on an interview Lupul did with the Toronto Sun on Saturday, he may still be hurting.
“I’m playing the waiting game,” Lupul told the Sun. “I’m trying to get healthy. That’s my focus right now. I haven’t heard anything (from the Leafs). I really can’t tell you anything.”
But if the Leafs were able to buy him out, and they chose to do so, here’s what it would look like, per GeneralFanager:
So for the Leafs, it would open up $3.75 million in cap space for next season, which is not an insignificant amount. Although four more years with him on the books isn’t ideal.
For Lupul, while he’d lose some salary in a buyout, it would at least give him a chance to sign elsewhere.
“I still want to play hockey,” he told the Sun. “I still think I’m a hockey player.”