Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston noted on Saturday’s Headlines segment of Hockey Night in Canada that the two sides sound as though they’re “fairly agreed” on a deal to keep the veteran in Toronto.
Not all the details are hammered out, though, because there are a few factors at play — including a stipulation in the collective bargaining agreement that may be holding off a potential deal.
“You can only commit so much salary to the season following the one you’re in, but that amount goes up by 10 per cent on March 1,” Johnston said. “So it does seem as though the Leafs and Jake Muzzin are on the path here to reaching a contract extension, but I wouldn’t be surprised if everything isn’t signed, sealed and delivered until after that date.”
Muzzin, who turns 31 on Friday, came over to the Maple Leafs via trade last season. The pending unrestricted free agent entered Saturday with 15 points in 47 games and leads the team in blocked shots (86) and hits (101). He also carries a cap hit of $4 million.
With defenceman Morgan Rielly sidelined on long-term injured reserve with a foot injury, Muzzin is second among active Toronto skaters in average time on ice (21:37 per game). The only player ahead of him, Tyson Barrie, is also a UFA-to-be.