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Jake Muzzin Extension Almost a Done Deal?

Are the Toronto Maple Leafs and Jake Muzzin close on an extension? If so, will we hear an official announcement from the team anytime soon?

According to the Toronto Sun’s Lance Hornby, the Toronto Maple Leafs and defenseman Jake Muzzin are close to agreeing to a four-year contract. Muzzin said to media after he scored his goal the other night, “I let my agent handle these things, but we are close.”

There has been plenty of talk regarding how close the two sides are and that Muzzin is essentially the chosen Maple Leafs defenseman set to get a new deal with Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci likely on the outside with only so much money to go around.

In fact, the salary cap rules might prohibit the Maple Leafs from actually announcing a done deal if one is completed before March 1.

The rumored new deal is speculated to be four years at $5.5 million per season but as Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston explained on Saturday during Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, Toronto can only go so high as part of a stipulation in the collective bargaining agreement. He explains:

“You can only commit so much salary to the season following the one you’re in, but that amount goes up by 10 per cent on March 1. So it does seem as though the Leafs and Jake Muzzin are on the path here to reaching a contract extension, but I wouldn’t be surprised if everything isn’t signed, sealed and delivered until after that date.”

As such, while the deal might be done in principal and both sides are aware of it, fans may not hear an official announcement from the Maple Leafs for about three weeks.

Meanwhile, the team still looks at other options for this season, including Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild. Michael Russo of The Athletic writes that the Toronto Maple Leafs have shown more interest in Dumba than any other NHL team this trade season. He explains:

The Maple Leafs appear to be the most interested party in Dumba, but it’s hard to see how they can help at center unless it’s somebody like Alex Kerfoot (which surely isn’t enough). Kasperi Kapanen is a talented, young winger, but the Wild are overwrought with wingers.

So, will the Maple Leafs find their short-term solution in Dumba and in a few weeks sign a longer-term solution in Muzzin? If so, it would help set their top-four on the blue line for the next few seasons.

Related: Jacob Markstrom’s Great, but the Vancouver Canucks Are Giving Up Too Many Shots on Goal

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