Maple Leafs re-sign Liljegren, qualify Robertson, Dewar, Steeves

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So much for the idea that the Maple Leafs were done with Timothy Liljegren.

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Minutes before qualifying offers were due to restricted free agents across the NHL on Sunday afternoon, the Leafs re-signed the 25-year-old defenceman to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $3 million US.

Liljegren was due a qualifying offer of $1.5 million and also was eligible for arbitration.

The Leafs extended qualifying offers to forwards Nick Robertson, Conor Dewar and Alex Steeves. They didn’t qualify winger Noah Gregor, making him a free agent.

With Liljegren done, Leafs general manager Brad Treliving was working away at getting defenceman Chris Tanev signed to a contract after acquiring Tanev’s rights from the Dallas Stars on Saturday. Failure to sign Tanev before NHL free agency opens on Monday at noon would allow the 34-year-old to go on the open market.

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The Liljegren move came hours after the Leafs signed forward Max Domi to a four-year pact with a $3.75 million AAV. Domi confirmed with a post to X that he was staying in Toronto and the Leafs made the official announcement during the dinner hour.

There had been speculation that Treliving was going to trade Liljegren, considering his interest in other defencemen including Tanev, Nikita Zadorov and Oliver Ekman-Larsson in free agency. But with Liljegren done and Tanev presumably about to sign, it could be that Treliving adds just one more player on the blue-line.

Keeping Liljegren ensures some insurance if Treliving doesn’t get another defenceman beyond Tanev.

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While many — including us — figured that the Leafs wouldn’t have enough money to sign both Domi and Tyler Bertuzzi, considering Treliving’s desire to add defencemen and a goalie, we were told that the Leafs and Bertuzzi continued to talk after Domi agreed to terms.

“Still a work in progress,” a source said to us via text regarding the Bertuzzi negotiations.

It’s thought a new contract for Bertuzzi would, at minimum, have an AAV of $5 million. If he gets to the open market, that could creep higher.

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The Domi contract is a good one for the Leafs and the longest Domi has signed for in the NHL. He was coming off of a couple of one-year deals and gets security in the place he wanted it most.

If Tanev gets $4 million a year on a long-term pact (at least five years or perhaps six), lowering the AAV, Treliving would have a shade under $9 million remaining under the salary cap.

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Treliving needs to sign at least one goaltender as well and fill in some other spaces on the roster. In net, Laurent Brossoit and Anthony Stolarz could be the goalies that Treliving is focusing on.

Joseph Woll, meanwhile, could sign an extension in the neighbourhood of three years and $3.5 million to $4 million per year as soon as Monday, as was speculated on last week. He has one year left on his current contract.

There’s the issue of Mitch Marner as well, but until something is made definitively clear otherwise, we’ll believe that the star winger will be with the Leafs next season. Monday marks the day that Marner can sign a new contract, but there’s no reason to rush and Treliving, as noted, first has other items to stroke off his to-do list.

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X: @koshtorontosun

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