Salary cap trades: Maple Leafs move Mrazek; Oilers ship out Kassian

Salary cap trades: Maple Leafs move Mrazek; Oilers ship out Kassian
Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

As Round 1 of the 2022 NHL Draft goes on, the Maple Leafs and Oilers pulled off trades to shake loose of salary cap problems in Petr Mrazek (to the Blackhawks) and Zack Kassian (to the Coyotes) respectively.

Both look like wise moves by the Maple Leafs and Oilers.

Maple Leafs clear salary cap space with Petr Mrazek trade to Blackhawks

The Blackhawks rebuild continues, and in this case, it meant taking on Petr Mrazek for a fairly small price to the Maple Leafs.

Blackhawks receive: Petr Mrazek and the 25th pick of the 2022 NHL Draft.

Maple Leafs get: the 38th pick of the 2022 NHL Draft.

So, the Maple Leafs moved back 13 picks to trade Petr Mrazek off of their salary cap. Reporters including Chris Johnston note that there was no salary retention involved.

Mrazek, 30, carries a $3.8 million cap hit in the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons. Via Cap Friendly, the Maple Leafs now have about $10.2M in salary cap space.

Naturally, they have a lot of work to do. Will this extra money open up space to keep Jack Campbell? Might Toronto go after a different goalie option?

It’s still a snug situation, but the Maple Leafs are far more flexible. And not really for too bad of a cost, especially if the Maple Leafs believe they’d get a similar value at 38 that they would have at 25.

Oilers give up draft capital to trade Zack Kassian to Coyotes for salary cap space

Coyotes receive: Zack Kassian, 29th pick in 2022, 2024 third-rounder, and 2025 second-rounder.

Oilers receive: 32nd pick in 2022

So, really, the Coyotes climb ever so slightly but add two draft picks to take on Kassian’s contract. Edmonton doesn’t tumble much as far as their 2022 first-rounder goes.

Crucially, this is reportedly another case without any salary retention involved.

Kassian, 31, carries a $3.2 million cap hit for the next two (2022-23 and 2023-24) seasons.

This one makes a ton of sense for both the Oilers and Coyotes (Arizona took advantage of the situation to get some decent draft volume).

Like the Maple Leafs, this trade doesn’t totally solve all of the salary cap problems for the Oilers. That said, they bought a lot of flexibility. They’re now at $10.33M in projected salary cap pace, albeit with just 14 roster spots covered. Both teams have goaltending questions to answer.

Nonetheless, that $3.2M could be huge for Edmonton. That goes for if the Oilers defy worries and keep Jesse Puljujarvi, strain to keep Evander Kane, or maybe find a route we’re not even thinking about.

Scroll Down For: