NHL News: Aho’s extension, Murray on LTIR, Wirtz passing

Today’s NHL news follows up on the latest regarding the Toronto Maple Leafs placing Matt Murray on long-term injured reserve, Sebastian Aho’s massive extension, and the hockey community losing an owner with Rocky Wirtz’s passing.

Whether you are into the latest trade buzz, signing news, and more, stick with The Daily Goal Horn.

The Toronto Maple Leafs create chaos across NHL with their latest LTIR move

matt Murray
Oct 3, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Matt Murray (30) waits for the play to resume during the third period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

Anyone following the exciting summer for the Toronto Maple Leafs will know by now that the team was almost $13 million over the cap with free-agent signings like Ryan Reaves, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Max Domi. Ultimately, the team had planned a way around their recent additions with a couple of roster players headed to long-term injury reserve. 

Eventually, news broke on Wednesday that the team placed often-injured netminder Matt Murray on LTIR, clearing his $4.6 million off the books. Interestingly, he joins Jake Muzzin, who makes $5.6 million on LTIR, giving the team an extra $10.3 million to play with. However, burying Murray’s contract on LTIR has caused a stir around the league since the goalie’s salary also counts toward the Ottawa Senators’ cap. 

Although the Senators are not in the same financial situation as the Maple Leafs, it asks whether one team’s numbers count towards the cap while the other doesn’t. But, this latest move is still the least of their problems, as many have taken to social media to voice their displeasure with Toronto finding a new way to “circumvent” the salary cap. 

Even though many of these voices have solid arguments, the Maple Leafs booked themselves into this situation and are desperately finding ways out, including burying an awful contract on injured reserve. Right now, Murray can’t play; however, it would be fascinating to see how things unfold in Toronto if he became eligible at any point during the 2023-24 season. 

Hurricanes’ Sebastian Aho commits to winning in Raleigh with a massive eight-year extension

Last week when most of the hockey community was abuzz talking about Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and other pending free agents in 2024, Sebastian Aho’s name finally started to trend. Ultimately, the Carolina Hurricanes went public with their negotiations, stating the team was eager to sign their star player and was busy working out the details to keep him in Raleigh. 

Then, on Wednesday, Aho’s 26th birthday, both parties announced a massive eight-year contract extension that begins at the start of the 2024-25 season. Entering the 2023-24 season, the Finnish forward was wrapping up a five-year deal worth $42.2 million, paying him $8.4 million a season. 

Moreover, this new deal, one of the richest in franchise history, is valued at $78 million and includes a pay rise to $9.75 million a season. Statistically, Aho has been one of the premier scorers in the NHL since debuting in 2016-17, and if he continues to chase down 40 goals and 80 points regularly, this contract could turn into a bargain as soon as it kicks in. 

Realistically, the Hurricanes are on the cusp of winning another Stanley Cup, and securing Aho for the foreseeable future sends a message to fans and rivals that the franchise is serious about contending. 

Chicago Blackhawks owner W. Rockwell “Rocky” Wirtz passes away at 70

The Wirtz family, led by Arthur, bought into the Chicago Blackhawks in 1950, securing sole ownership in 1966. However, when his son Bill acquired the team in 1983, the relationship between the franchise and the fan base fell apart. Unfortunately, the team did not broadcast home games in the local market under Bill’s leadership, a practice that went on for over two decades. 

Although the Blackhawks did leave Chicago Stadium for the United Center in 1996, the team was mediocre for years, resulting in high drafts like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane coming to town. Eventually, Rocky assumed ownership in 2007 and, within three seasons, celebrated the club’s first championship since 1961. 

Since taking over the Blackhawks 16 years ago, the team won three Stanley Cup titles in 2010, 2013, and 2015, ushering in a new era in franchise history. Eventually, the family started making amends with the fanbase with home games on TV while selling out the United Center nightly. 

The hockey community lost a great man passionate about the Blackhawks and the image they projected across the league. Of course, he didn’t avoid any scandals during his tenure. However, very few discussed those mistakes on Wednesday, with many offering up praise to one of the game’s best owners.