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Maple Leafs and pending UFA defenseman Jake Muzzin nearing extension

Mike Armenti   ·   14 février 2020
The Toronto Maple Leafs may be inching closer to a multi-year extension for defenseman Jake Muzzin, which could potentially keep the Woodstock, Ontario native in blue and white through the 2023-24 season.

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Initial reports from TSN's Darren Dreger on Insider Trading on Thursday evening indicate that the deal could be inked ahead of Monday, February 24th, which is the NHL's trade deadline.

TSN's Pierre LeBrun - who recently signed an extension to remain with TSN himself - has doubled down on Dreger's comments, pointing to an in-depth analysis from The Athletic's James Myrtle that projects Muzzin's possible deal as a 4-year, $22M deal that would carry an AAV of $5.5M per season.





That's not to say that a Muzzin extension will land at a $5.5M AAV, it's simply the projection. The comparable contracts for Muzzin, according to Myrtle, would be Tyler Myers, Alex Goligoski and Anton Stralman, all of whom earn in excess of $5.45M. Defensemen of a similar ilk, like Tampa's Ryan McDonagh ($6.75M), provide Muzzin with some bargaining leverage, but due to Muzzin's age, it's fair to suggest that the hometown boy may settle for less to remain in Toronto.



Keeping Muzzin around seems imperative for the Leafs, as Muzzin has been referred to as "the team's conscience" this season, following the departure of veterans Ron Hainsey and Patrick Marleau. Muzzin is a huge part of the leadership group in Toronto and with the blueline being a current position of weakness for the Buds, it's unlikely that the team sits by and watches both Barrie and Muzzin walk away as unrestricted free agents.

To me, of the two, the decision to retain Muzzin is the most sensible one for the Leafs to make, given the fact that Barrie is going to come in at as much as $8M per season at a 7-8 year term. Quite simply, that is a price tag that the Buds simply cannot afford after shelling out the big bucks for the big four.

More on this story as it develops.
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HOCKEY - QUIZ
Who owned # 2, retired by the New York Rangers on January 24, 2008?
ADAM GRAVES
ANDY BATHGATE
BRIAN LEETCH
HARRY HOWELL
JEAN RATELLE
VIC HADFIELD
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