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Report: Leafs planning salary dump trade, Rangers and Islanders in the mix

You just KNEW that a trade like this was going to go down…

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In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 24 hours, allow us to bring you up to speed: John Tavares is now a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The superstar free agent officially parted ways with the New York Islanders yesterday afternoon to sign a seven year, $77 million contract with his hometown Leafs, ending months of rumors and speculation.

Now just 24 hours later the Leafs are being linked to one of the best remaining available free agents and one of Tavares’ former teammates, defenseman Calvin de Haan.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have recently expressed serious interest in D Calvin de Haan. The Islanders also still very interested. A few more teams remain in the mix. Offers in the table, and he’s turned down one long-term offer from a team. Talks very much ongoing.

Here’s the catch: With the Leafs handing Tavares a contract worth $11 million annually and with restricted free agent William Nylander due a new deal, money is about to get tight in Toronto. Can the Leafs afford to pay de Haan the $3 million or $4 million salary he could command? Or will they be forced to move out some money in a salary dump trade?

New York Rangers insider Larry Brooks reported early this morning that the Leafs have placed enforcer Matt Martin on the trade block and, now that his $1.5 million signing bonus has been paid, he could be on the move sooner rather than later.

Check it out:

Matt Martin is in demand on trade market. Seriously. Following payment of his $1.5M signing bonus by Leafs (likely yesterday), acquiring club would owe him $750,000 this year and $1.75M next year. Cap hit is $2.5M per.

Martin, who spent the first first seven years of his pro career with the Islanders organization, was a frequent healthy scratch under Leafs head coach and has been linked back to the Islanders for months. With Tavares off the Islanders books and on the Leafs books now, the Islanders can now easily afford to absorb Martin and his $2.5 million cap hit. Ditto for the New York Rangers who are also reportedly interested in the 29 year old enforcer.

It remains to be seen what Martin could command in terms of a return, but it’s likely that Leafs GM Kyle Dubas isn’t expecting much. If he could move Martin’s contract while making a clean break of things, chances are he’ll jump at the opportunity.