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.

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Leafs' Rielly not focused on extension heading into contract year
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