Just because the Toronto Maple Leafs had more success than they had seen in the last decade doesn’t mean we’ll see a quiet summer from the club. In fact, they could be quite active in trying to upgrade their roster and attempting to prove that their playoff appearance this season was no fluke.
Improving their roster might require the Leafs to say goodbye to a couple of folks. And with the compliance buyouts available to teams, you could probably expect the Leafs to be in on that action. In fact, they could look to use theirs on the blue line.
The Maple Leafs have a couple of up-and-comers on their blue line that look like they have the potential to be mainstays in the future. One of those players is Cody Franson, while Jake Gardiner could ride an impressive playoff appearance to an increased role next season.
Which could signal the end of the line in Toronto for John-Michael Liles. Of course, the reason for Liles would be much more for financial reasons, rather than what Liles did on the ice this season. Liles played in 32 of 48 games for the Leafs this season, finishing the year with 11 points over that span. He managed to finish with 52 blocked shots, despite limited action, adding another 45 hits as well.
The issue with Liles is mainly the term remaining on his contract. He’s signed for three more years after this season, with a cap hit of $3.875 million. That’s a lot of coin for a guy who was fighting for minutes among other Leafs blue liners.
The line of thinking for the Maple Leafs is very likely going to have to do with the fact that Liles is replaceable. They can roll with younger, cheaper options and not see much of a dip in their overall performance. If Toronto is going to use their buyout, Liles seems a prime candidate.