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Jake Muzzin’s Contract Negotiations Getting Tricky

Are the Jake Muzzin and Toronto Maple Leafs negotiations already going in the wrong direction?

What the Toronto Maple Leafs end up doing with Jake Muzzin could be crucial to future of their blue line. Should Dubas find a way to secure his services on a long-term deal, Toronto will have a stable presence in the fold for years to come. The issue is, how much will it cost and does it change the rest of the roster trying to make his next deal fit?

Early contract negotiations with the Maple Leafs have proven to be a bit tricky according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. He said during Saturday’s Headlines segment that it is not as simple as knowing Muzzin would like to stay and the Maple Leafs spending what it will take to make that happen. No, there are a lot of factors at play here.

First, the Maple Leafs are dealing with salary cap constraints that make every big decision one that has to be carefully weighed and measured. The Maple Leafs don’t exactly have an unlimited bank of funds to play with. To make matters worse, Muzzin won’t come cheap.

When all is said and done, Muzzin could wind up being the most coveted defenseman in this summer’s UFA market. That too is slowing things down. Knowing he can essentially name his price on the open market, even if Muzzin were to take a discount to stay with the Leafs, he’s likely not willing to leave millions on the table.

Muzzin Comparables

There is a chance Alex Pietrangelo and Torey Krug join him as free agents but most signs point to the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins respectively extending their players, or at least having a strong desire to. Should that happen, Muzzin has comparables from which to work from and those numbers will undoubtedly be too rich for the Maple Leafs without additional changes.

The question Toronto and Dubas now has to ask is what does the top defenseman get on the UFA market? Muzzin will fall into that category. Then Dubas will need to ask if that’s a wise decision. Is Muzzin the guy you want to break the bank on? If they intend to keep him, that decision won’t be easy.

Related: Should Bruins Think About Trading David Krejci?

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