Leafs' Rielly not focused on extension heading into contract year

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Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly says his status as a pending unrestricted free agent isn't influencing his mindset for the 2021-22 campaign.

The 27-year-old is eligible to test the open market for the first time in his career next summer, and a potential extension for Rielly is a key storyline as Toronto enters a crucial season.

"I think you all know how I feel about being a Leaf. But there is a business aspect of it," Rielly said on the opening day of training camp Wednesday, per Sportsnet's Luke Fox.

He continued: "I totally understand it's a question that's worth asking. I'm just going to go about my business, prepare for the season. I feel great; I'm ready for the season. I understand the question. I think about it, too. But I'm just going to go about my business."

Rielly has made a team-friendly $5 million per season since signing a five-year pact in 2016. In that span, he ranks 14th among all blue-liners with 213 points in 336 games.

Toronto has $67.7 million committed to a 14-player roster in 2022-23, according to Cap Friendly. Keeping Rielly could prove difficult, as several defenders of his ilk signed new deals with cap hits in the $8-million to $9-million range this offseason.

The perennially cap-strapped Leafs let several key UFAs walk in recent years, including Zach Hyman, Frederik Andersen, James van Riemsdyk, and Tyler Bozak.

Leafs' Rielly not focused on extension heading into contract year
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