The Stanley Cup is going to be awarded Wednesday night, but of course all hockey fans are interested in are transactions and rumours. For the Leafs, all of this is circling around forward Mitch Marner.
A restricted free agent on July 1st, Marner will have the option to talk to other teams about a potential offer sheet starting June 26th and it appears that him and his agent Darren Ferris will wait until then.
One of the teams reportedly interested in the young forward is the New York Islanders — headlined by former Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello.
C’est du moins ce que m’a raconté un joueur de l’organisation du Canadien → https://t.co/sD0AZ9O2xV
— DansLesCoulisses (@DLCoulisses) June 12, 2019
According to Quebec outlet Dans Les Coulisses and their discussions with a player from the Montreal Canadiens, it appears that Marner’s internal expectation is an offer with a salary of around $12.5-million.
I had the chance to chat with a player whose rights belonged to the Canadiens organization over the last few hours and according to what he heard between the branches, Mitch Marner’s agent expects that his client receives (at least) a hostile offer … worth $ 12.5 million per season (for several seasons).
This player wanted not to be formally identified.
Marner has already advised the Maple Leafs management that he will not sign a contract extension until he can talk to the other teams (June 26).
Always according to the player I spoke to, Marner’s agent expects Lou Lamoriello and the Islanders are part of teams interested in at least talking with his client.
Roughly translated, it seems that there is no way that the Leafs will be able to compete with offers like those that are rumoured. If the New York Islanders are in fact the team that is most likely to give an offer sheet, it would certainly cause a shock through the entire league.
The compensation for this hypothetical offer sheet will be the Islanders’ next four first-round picks — from 2020 to 2023.
There is no doubt that the Leafs will not be able to match this number if it is indeed true. Taking up that massive percentage of their cap on one player when they already have Auston Matthews’ extension kicking in next season and still have more high-end forwards earning their portion.
As of right now, the Islanders have just over $28.5-million in cap space, but still have to re-sign their captain Anders Lee, goaltender Robin Lehner, and Jordan Eberle to new deals.
Whether or not they let a player or two walk because of an incoming Marner is uncertain, but they do still have a projected massive contract coming for Mat Barzal next summer.
There will be multiple teams talking to Marner during that period after June 26th, the Islanders likely among them, so if his camp finds a deal with a new team and the Leafs are unable to match, then the star will have played his last game as a member of this team.
Transactions baby, transactions.