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Per NHL Scribe: Ignore Maple Leafs Rielly Out, Pietrangelo In Rumors

While there’s talk about Morgan Rielly being moved to make room for Alex Pietrangelo, one scribe says forget it. The Maple Leafs won’t do it.

Rielly Pietrangelo Rumors

Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star recently posted an article about the Toronto Maple Leafs and their desire to move around some money, all in the hopes that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo becomes an option in free agency… even if not a likely one.

The reality is, should the Leafs not make room financially to add Pietrangelo, including him in future plans simply isn’t an option. In fact, it’s hardly worth talking about. But, if the Leafs move the money needed and still don’t sign him, it won’t be for a lack of trying.

But, there is a limit to what the Maple Leafs are willing to do. More specifically, a recent suggestion that the Leafs might move defenseman Morgan Rielly out to make said room is far from accurate.

Granted, if possible, the Toronto Maple Leafs will definitely try to figure out their salary cap situation with Pietrangelo part of the equation. But, to assume the Leafs would move out their top defender to do so is not logical.

McGran notes that the fans who are suggesting a trade that would see Rielly and his $5 million cap hit leave aren’t grasping the long-term problems such a move might cause. This is the case even if the return for Rielly was excellent. McGran writes:

The return for Rielly would be enormous, a stabilizing, puck-moving, all-around defenceman with a team-friendly contract for two more seasons. He’s just outside the Venn diagram of Norris candidates, but was trending that direction before an injury riddled 2019-20 season. Personally, I thought he had a terrific playoff — he was healthy.

As McGran points out, on the surface, it seems to work. But, he adds, “The defence would only be marginally better, the salary cap situation much worse.” McGran goes on to explain, “If you’re a cynic, you could say you’d be paying Pietrangelo for everything he did in St. Louis. Pietrangelo is 30; Rielly, 26.”

Morgan Rielly Toronto Maple Leafs
Morgan Rielly Toronto Maple Leafs

In fact, McGran continues that it would make more sense for the Leafs to move one of Mitch Marner or William Nylander to better round out the cap situation and ensure the money being spent wasn’t so heavily allocated into only one position.

Otherwise, the Leafs would have Alex Pietrangelo ($9 million range), Auston Matthews ($11.634 million), John Tavares ($11 million), Mitch Marner ($10.893) and William Nylander ($6.9 million) taking up a huge percentage of the cap. It’s not a recipe for success, as Leafs Nation has already seen over the past few seasons.

Forget Pietrangelo Altogether

McGran suggests that the best solution might be to forget about Pietrangelo. Instead, focus on adding around the edges, looking at someone like Zach Bogosian, Luke Schenn, Michael Stone, Dylan DeMelo, or Cody Goloubef.

If the Leafs want to take an even bigger step up on the blue line, they could target someone like T.J. Brodie. While a more expensive option, he’s nowhere near the sticker price Pietrangelo will command and it wouldn’t take moving Rielly to do it.

Next: NHL Scribe Lists 14 Most Likely NHL Buyout Candidates 2020

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