One year after landing the league's most sought-after free agent in John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas knows his club's current financial limitations will prevent him from making another big splash this time around.
"No, the salary cap is going to constrain us big time on July 1," Dubas said Sunday, according to NHL.com's Dave McCarthy. "We'll probably be looking for guys we can give a great opportunity to, like Tyler Ennis last year who came in and had a great season for us, and guys of that nature, but we will not be in the big-game market at all, aside from coming to an agreement with our own guy, Mitch, and working towards that."
Dubas' primary offseason assignment is locking down electric winger Mitch Marner. By trading Patrick Marleau and his cumbersome cap hit to the Carolina Hurricanes at the draft, as well as nearing completed extensions for forwards Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson, the Leafs GM has somewhat cleared his path towards an agreement with Toronto's leading scorer.
But the pressure for the two sides to formally put pen to paper is mounting. Marner can speak with other teams that could potentially submit an offer sheet as of June 26 and is free to sign one July 1.
"I'm always hopeful it will get done before July 1, but Mitch has his rights," Dubas said. "It's not on Mitch to free us up, he has his rights."
Without factoring in Kapanen and Johnsson's reported extensions and Toronto's LTIR designations, the Maple Leafs have a projected $13.5 million in cap space, according to CapFriendly.