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Toronto Maple Leafs

Matt Murray LTIR Assignment Raises Cap Circumvention Concerns

Toronto Maple Leafs’ goalie Matt Murray faces indefinite injury, disrupting buyout plans and salary cap issues. Was this all above board?

The Toronto Maple Leafs made a somewhat surprising announcement on Wednesday, revealing that goaltender Matt Murray would be sidelined indefinitely due to an injury. Consequently, Murray was placed on Injured Reserve/Long Term Injury ahead of the upcoming season. This news came as fans were anticipating a possible buyout for the goaltender.

Although the Maple Leafs were reportedly prepared to buy out Murray, the story now is that the situation took an unexpected turn when his representatives informed the team that he was unfit to play due to health issues. As a result, the buyout option was no longer viable, as NHL rules prohibit the buyout of injured players.

The sudden shift in Murray’s status raises questions, particularly for Ottawa Senators fans. Even though Murray is now with the Maple Leafs, his $1.562 million cap hit still affects Ottawa’s cap for the 2023-24 season, leaving them at a disadvantage compared to Toronto, which will receive full relief from Murray’s contract. It’s also “convenient” that the best possible way to try and make a dent into the massive salary cap situation the Leafs now face was to have Murray on LTIR. Some aren’t buying it’s a coincidence.

Both the Maple Leafs and Murray Said He Was Healthy

During the playoffs, there were indications that Murray was healthy and ready to play. Ahead of Game 4 in Toronto’s second-round series against the Florida Panthers, head coach Sheldon Keefe stated that Murray had been cleared and was in good health. Murray himself confirmed feeling great and fully prepared if called upon to play, emphasizing his dedication to helping the team win.

At the time he noted, “I felt great. I was using practice time at the end of the year as games almost. All of my practices were very focused, and [I] felt great in practice.” He added, “I was ready to go if called upon. Again, my role was to do whatever is asked me to help the team win. That’s what I did.”



The current situation has created significant speculation about the abrupt change in Murray’s status, especially considering that the Leafs’ LTIR designation presents the best-case scenario for the team to navigate their salary cap challenges. By operating as an LTIR team, Toronto avoids a $2 million salary cap charge for the 2024-25 season.

Sportsnet reached out to Leafs GM Brad Treliving for comment on Murray’s health, but he declined to disclose any details, citing it as a private matter for the player.

Is This Something the NHL Will Look Into?

As the situation unfolds, fans and analysts will undoubtedly closely monitor updates regarding Matt Murray’s health and the implications it holds for both the Maple Leafs and the Senators. The goaltender’s status will continue to be a topic of interest as the new NHL season approaches.

Lance Hornsby notes that the NHL has to right to have a medical expert look into this if they deem it necessary, but the history of NHL LTIR cases like Nikita Kucherov, Mark Stone, Shea Weber, and Carey Price all suggest that the NHL isn’t going to blink an eye. Ottawa fans won’t love it, but it is what it is.

When it comes to injuries, specifically concussions, it’s hard to gauge the severity of the issue from week to week. That leaves open the window for things to change rapidly. Murray might have felt he was ready in the playoffs and his diagnosis has changed. Then again… who knows.

Next: It’s Joseph Woll’s Time to Prove Himself for Maple Leafs

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. John

    July 27, 2023 at 4:41 pm

    Bettman is paid by the owners so they like it as a way to shave the cap down……. he will do nothing.A Toronto Sun poll of 1300 people voted with 78 percent not buying the injury story. Leafs are not fooling anyone.

  2. Pingback: Senators Sign Tarasenko to One-Year, $5 Million Contract

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