Leafs News: Maple Leafs Shows Interest in Joel Edmundson’s Return as NHL Free Agency Looms

Report: Maple Leafs Express Interest in Joel Edmundson’s Return as NHL Free Agency Looms, No Talks Yet with Ilya Lyubushkin

The Toronto Maple Leafs have 12 pending free agents slated to hit the open market of NHL free agency on July 1, 2024, although not all of them are expected to return.

But the Leafs are interested in having some of them come back, and that includes Joel Edmundson.

Edmundson was acquired from the Washington Capitals prior of the 2023-24 trade deadline, with the Leafs only having him on the books for $875,000 of his $3.5 million contract (75 percent of his salary hit retained). As an attempt to find consistency, grit, and playoff experience in front of his goaltender pair, Edmundson suited the bill.

As Pagnotta points out, the Manitoba native plans to test the waters in free agency come July 1 to explore all of his possibilities, but he is aiming for a return to Toronto. The veteran defenseman tallied a single assist in his 16 appearances but was a valued physical presence that general manager Brad Treliving would love to have stick around.

Given the fresh employment of head coach Craig Berube, the same coach Edmundson won the 2019 Stanley Cup with in St. Louis, a reunion between the two sides might become an intriguing issue in the negotiation window.

Negotiations with Lyubushkin Yet to Occur

Ilya Lyubushkin was another salary-retained asset the Leafs acquired in a trade, this time in a transaction with the Anaheim Ducks. He was brought to Toronto with a cap cost of $687,500 despite playing on a $2.75 million salary.

Pagnotta noted that the Leafs had not yet initiated negotiations with Lyubushkin.

That doesn’t imply those negotiations won’t eventually happen. The Russian Bear’s’ simplicity and ability to clear the front of the net is exactly what Treliving is looking for on July 1 – it would make sense to seek re-signing him.

After left the organization in free agency back in the 2021-22 season, he was coherently incorporated back into the Leafs’ system for his second career with the team — playing the perfect fiddle to Morgan Reilly. An aggressive, right-handed, defenseman is hard to come by in today’s NHL, where his talents will undoubtedly be needed league-wide.

These two dominos are many that could fall in a summer full of change in Toronto. Only time will tell if the Leafs attempt to keep them before they enter the open market.

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