Report: Maple Leafs’ Kyle Clifford ‘headed for free agency’

NHL insider Elliotte Friedman joins Lead Off to discuss what he’s hearing with respect to Maple Leafs and Frederik Andersen, like whether they are or should be shopping him, and what kind of trade return they might get.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are shaping up to have an eventful summer after another early playoff exit. The search is on for new defencemen as GM Kyle Dubas tries to rebuild his blue line, and there’s even a possibility that goalie Frederik Andersen has played his last game for the Leafs.

Now, they may also have to find a new source of physicality for the depth lines.

Speaking to the Toronto Sun‘s Terry Koshan, Kyle Clifford‘s agent said the six-foot-two, 211-pound bruiser would test the market as a UFA in October.

“He’s headed for free agency,” Todd Reynolds told the Sun. “That’s what is going to happen and the Leafs are aware of that.”

According to Koshan, Reynolds acknowledged that Toronto’s salary cap situation partially contributed to the two sides not being able to get an extension done. The Leafs have $6.1 million in projected cap space, per Cap Friendly, with a roster size of 18 players. Along with Clifford, Jason Spezza, Cody Ceci and Tyson Barrie are also UFAs this off-season, while Ilya Mikheyev, Frederik Gauthier and Travis Dermott are the notable RFAs in Toronto.

Toronto acquired Clifford and goalie Jack Campbell from Los Angeles on Feb. 6 for Trevor Moore and a couple of draft picks. One of those picks was a conditional third-rounder in 2021 that would have become a second-round pick had Toronto and Clifford agreed to an extension.

Clifford made $1.6 million against the cap on his five-year contract and scored three points in 16 regular season games with the Leafs, but had no points in five post-season games.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.