Prior to August 14, the Maple Leafs’ roster was full. All twenty-three spots were taken up. The Maple Leafs were ready to start the season.
Or so we thought. Why was Alexei Marchenko waived?
At a cap hit of $1.45 million for just one more year, it’s unlikely that it was to clear cap room. With Connor Brown still to sign and off-season LTIR relief activated, signing Connor Brown should not be a problem with or without Alexei Marchenko signed. The practicality of keeping a right handed defender with so little in the system that have NHL experience is obvious.
As it stands, Marchenko would likely not assume significant role with the Leafs. Mike Babcock confirmed that his initial vision on the right side includes either one of Ron Hainsey or Morgan Rielly, both left handed defenders.
The simplest observation is one that says that Marchenko was expendable and unneeded. Paying him was unnecessary. He was waived for his lack of role. That observation is most likely the one that connects most closely with reality.
The Maple Leafs already showed they intend to win. Signing veteran goal scorer Patrick Marleau just proves it. Making a significant addition isn’t as far fetched as it may seem.
Allegedly, the Toronto Maple Leafs expressed interest in free agent defender and former Maple Leaf Cody Franson. The roster spot could be allocated to him, according to some speculators.
Should a trade involving James van Riemsdyk arise, an extra roster spot could be given to a mystery player.
At the back of everyone’s mind, everyone knows that there is a problem. The salary cap is on the brink of complete usage. Should an addition take place, it should have to be calculated properly, or Toronto’s future could be in jeopardy just because of one addition.