Not really sure what you are trying to prove. Your examples are of players who got paid top $$ and signed long term when they became UFA. Muzzin is solid defensive D and making only $4M as a UFA AND only under contract for 1 more season. Leafs dont have the cap space to afford a UFA making $7.6M and up.
I think you're confused about what I believe.
We will extend Muzzin, we paid a 1st+2nd+3rd for a reason. I like Muzzin just fine.
But because of his age, LA wins the trade in the long term
and TOR wins the trade for the first 2-3 years
It's not a bargain price, but we chose to outbid rather than lose another year to Boston.
It is only a good deal if we bring in a RHD of the same caliber.
That one will cost even more. I'm fine with that, there's no trophy for 8th place and this is our best shot with a young Matthews and a young Marner.
This is a serious change from trying to win every trade over the long term, investing in picks+prospects at the expense of the current roster.
We are leaving trade fantasy land, where you can win simply by holding out and badmouthing any deal that isn't a landslide in our favour.
We are taking the first steps into the reality of trying to win the Stanley Cup now.
It is going to be a big adjustment for the pigeons who will have to admit Gardiner and Zaitsev don't cut the mustard, and what acquiring real top 4 D costs in the market.
Hopefully any moves Dubas can manage will take the team higher all the way to the Cup before the wave crashes and we start again.
We can't stop now that we've started, there's no refunds on Muzzin.