Maple Leafs Looking To Lock Up Bunting For 8 Years

The Toronto Maple Leafs are thinking about the salary cap as they must always do. This time it is in terms of their intention to sign Michael Bunting to a long-term deal. Pierre Lebrun reported that the Maple Leafs are open to an eight-year deal to bring down the AAV.

Bunting has played just 106 career regular season games and has scored 35 goals and 78 points. He was excellent as a winger on the Maple Leafs' top line last season and got off to a nice start to the 2022-23 season by scoring the team's first goal of the season.

The Maple Leafs often have the issue of players leaving after having good seasons due to the inability to pay them. The most recent example of this is Ilya Mikheyev who left in free agency for the Vancouver Canucks and got paid a four-year, $4.75 million AAV contract.

With the Maple Leafs having the big five under contract for a combined $48 million, there isn't much room for the second tier of players to hang around and get what they deserve. Typically, players are willing to accept deals with a lower AAV if they get security on their contracts like term or no-trade clauses. In the Maple Leafs' case, they are looking to provide security for Bunting so that he may stay with the team and they can afford him.

With the salary cap expected to take a few jumps the next couple of seasons, the Maple Leafs would ideally like to lock up Bunting before news of how much the NHL's salary cap is going to increase is revealed.

Photo credit: © Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports