NHL Rumors: Minimum Cost For Maple Leafs To Re-Sign Bunting

Though Michael Bunting struggled to start the season, he has picked up his game significantly and is playing regular minutes on the top line. Though that helps the Toronto Maple Leafs this season, Nick Kypreos thinks it stands to reason that Bunting could pass the $4 million AAV mark this offseason.

One of the last things the Maple Leafs want to do is lose another forward they saw grow and become a good player. Just over the past two seasons Zach Hyman and Ilya Mikheyev have done that exact thing. Hyman went from earning $2.25 million AAV to $5.5 million AAV while Mikheyev went from $1.645 million AAV to $4.75 million. Bunting is in that exact position.

Bunting will be 28 years old and likely looking for at least five years on his next deal. After his very impressive breakout season in 2021-22 and the way he's now playing this season, he has earned the long-term contract and money. In 113 games as a Maple Leaf, Bunting has 32 goals and 87 points and is a good complement to the team's top players.

It should be worth it for the Maple Leafs to bring back Bunting on a deal that looks similar to Hyman's and Mikheyev's, but will need to work around the cap and move pieces out.

Photo credit: © Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports