NHL Rumors: Morgan Rielly’s Toronto future in doubt; and will Jack Eichel report to Sabres camp

Latest on Rielly and Eichel.

morgan rielly contract
Apr 4, 2021; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly (44) passes the puck against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a large amount of money locked into four players. Nearly 50% of their total cap space is dedicated to John Tavares ($11.6M), Auston Matthews ($11M), Mitch Marner ($10.9M), and William Nylander ($6.9M).

This has many questioning what will be the fate of pending UFA defenseman, Morgan Rielly.

NHL Rumors: Morgan Rielly to hit the market?

Rielly, 27, scored 35 points in 55 games last season. For his career, all with Toronto, he’s amassed 305 points in 572 contests. He logs top pair minutes and helps QB the power play.

Many would suggest that Rielly is likely more valuable to retain for next season if the core four fail to produce again in the playoffs.

Back in June, GM Kyle Dubas stated that the two sides have not had many talks regarding an extension. He already shot down speculation that the Leafs would consider anything remotely to what some defensemen got this summer. Considering the Leafs have very little cap space to play with in 2022, his Leafs’ future is rightfully in doubt.

nhl rumors morgan rielly
May 22, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly (44) stretches during the warm-up before game two of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto will also have goalie Jack Campbell and forward Ilya Mikheyev hit UFA status. To add to their cap woes, they have some key RFA’s to sign that include Rasmus Sandin and Nick Ritchie. It makes you wonder if they don’t opt to trade one of their top salaries to retain Rielly.

“It’s not something that I spend a lot of time thinking about,” Rielly said after the season about his contract. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. But right now, it’s more just trying to deal with what happens on the ice. I have to take care of myself and just prepare for next season and get going. But in terms of the other stuff, that tends to take care of itself over time.”

Will Rielly be back with the Leafs next season? I believe the answer is yes, but it will likely come at the cost of moving Mitch Marner or William Nylander.

Will Jack Eichel show up to Sabres Camp

jack Eichel training camp
Feb 26, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) before the game against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Sabres will be opening training camp in less than two weeks. Will Jack Eichel be there?

Considering how contentious things have been between Eichel and the Sabres since he went down with a neck injury, some may think the answer is obvious.

John Vogl of The Athletic provided the most reasonable answers in a recent mailbag.

If Eichel fails to report, the Sabres don’t have to pay him for each day missed. Vogl works that out to about $36K per day.

What will likely happen is Eichel will report, fail his physical and be sent home until a trade is worked out.

Thus far, there’s been no additional confirmation of TSN’s Shawn Simpson’s report that Eichel was scheduled to have surgery and return by December.