The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired injured forward Riley Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2022 NHL Draft.
The pick converts to a sixth-round pick if Nash appears in 25 percent of the Maple Leafs’ playoff games in 2021.
Notice the lack of conditions for regular-season games. That’s because there will not be any for the 31-year-old.
Nash suffered a sprained knee in a 3-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Sunday. The forward will be out of the lineup for four-to-six weeks.
Nash has two goals and five assists in 37 games this season. He’s in the final year of a three-year contract that carries an average annual value of $2.75 million.
The Leafs would normally not have the salary cap space to fit Nash on their roster, but with the expectation that the player will not return until the playoffs, Toronto acquired a player that can help them in the postseason, while adding salary cap space by playing the forward on long-term injured reserve.
Before acquiring Riley, the Leafs had approximately $1.7 million in deadline salary cap space, according to CapFriendly.com. With the acquisition of a contract that can be placed on long-term injured reserve (the Jackets actually didn’t have him on LTIR), the Leafs have taken daily salary cap accrual out of the equation. They now have $2.75 million in space, plus the minuscule number they were under the $81.5 million cap threshold.
There is no salary cap in the playoffs. Once Riley is cleared to return, Toronto can simply add him to the roster and not deal with any math.