We reported days ago that the Toronto Maple Leafs were close to an extension with defenseman Jake Muzzin. Apparently, the deal was all but done but couldn’t be announced thanks to cap complications.
On Monday, as the NHL Trade Deadline was underway, the Maple Leafs officially announced Muzzin’s extension.
The deal will carry a cap hit of $5.625 million per year and TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger adds Muzzin will receive $16.8 million in signing bonus as part of the deal. In total, the extension was worth $22.5 million over four seasons.
Muzzin was scheduled to become a free agent in July and but he was deemed the one blueliner the Maple Leafs did not want to lose. They had a number of pending free agent defensemen but GM Kyle Dubas called Muzzin essential to the success of their team. In a media presser after Toronto did very little at the deadline, Dubas essentially called Muzzin the heartbeat of their team. He’s good when things are good, but even more important when things aren’t good. And, lately, things haven’t been good.
The extension will make Muzzin the Maple Leafs’ highest-paid defenceman next season, coming in ahead of Morgan Rielly, who carries a $5 million cap hit through 2021-22. And, while Reilly and Muzzin play a different style of game, Muzzin at 30-years-old still has five goals and 22 points 52 games with the Maple Leafs this season. He’s also averaging 21:43 of ice time per game.
To say this was an important signing for the Leafs would be downplaying it. Dubas took a lot of heat on Monday for doing very little with the Maple Leafs lineup. This, even though it pretty much seals the deals on the fate of Cody Ceci and Tyson Barrie, was a solid signing.
It’s something, right?
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