Ex-GM Lamor­iello made fu­ture deals pos­si­ble for Leafs

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Where would the Maple Leafs be to­day with­out Lou Lamor­iello?

In trou­ble, it says here. Es­pe­cially fi­nan­cially.

Lamor­iello didn’t just trade for Fred­erik An­der­sen in his time as gen­eral man­ager of the Leafs, but he im­me­di­ately signed him to a longterm con­tract. An­der­sen is be­ing paid $5 mil­lion a sea­son and is signed up for two more sea­sons af­ter this one. Right now, he is the 17th-high­est paid goalie in the league and, ar­guably, a top-five net­min­der.

Mor­gan Rielly is con­sid­ered a Nor­ris Tro­phy can­di­date this sea­son. He is signed up for three more sea­sons with a cap hit of $5 mil­lion per sea­son, a deal done by Lamor­iello at the end of his first year as Leafs GM. He is the 49th high­est-paid de­fence­man in the NHL to­day. By the time his con­tract ex­pires, he’ll likely be nowhere near the top 60 in salary.

The same is true of the deal Nazem Kadri signed on the same April day that Rielly put his pen to pa­per. Kadri is signed for three years af­ter this one, at a salary cap hit of $4.5 mil­lion per sea­son. Among cen­tres, he ranks 65th in the NHL in salary. Among all for­wards, he ranks just 128th in pay. His value to the Leafs is ex­treme.

But as David Poile has proven in Nashville year af­ter year, do­ing it bet­ter than any­one, the pro­jec­tion con­tract — sign­ing a player to what you think he’s go­ing to be worth be­fore he hits that value — is nec­es­sary for suc­cess.

Lamor­iello did that won­der­fully well with the Leafs, set­ting up their fu­ture which will en­able the huge money deals to kick in.

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