Continuing with the “It’s August” theme of writing I’ve been doing on this site, I’ve decided to go back on my earlier decision to not write about, the rumour floated by Eklund in regards to potential incoming offer sheets for Mitch Marner next season…
I have heard from several sources this summer that several teams are keeping a very close eye on how much Auston Matthews eventually ends up making in term and cap hit in his inevitable long-term contract extension with Toronto. The real intrigue lies in the domino possibility that Mitch Marner could have his pick among several potential offer sheet suitors next summer, putting the Leafs in salary cap hell if they match.
Okay. Now let’s quickly move past the fact that Eklund hasn’t really heard anything other the opining we all do over the course of our sports lives, and while I’m sure there are teams that are watching the situation closely, that really doesn’t mean a whole lot, especially when no one ever offersheets anyone because this league refuses to be interesting in any way.
We’ve now acknowledged that none of this will likely happen, and now we can move on to dealing in the ridiculous hypothetical.
What if Marner is offersheeted and the Leafs sign him?
The Leafs will have a very good player that they might wind up paying more than they wanted to for. Odds are the Leafs are comfortable paying a little bit more because a player of Marner’s ability and age is very difficult to replace and they go on about their business, likely trading someone else, because they probably needed to do that anyway to make the salary situation work. I personally suggest Nikita Zaitsev because I don’t like him.
Ultimately, life goes on, but all Leafs fans resent one team and one GM a little more than we used to, and that could be fun. Unless it’s Boston. I’m done with all things Boston.
What if Marner is offersheeted and the Leafs DON’T sign him?
I think we can all agree this sounds and is worse because it results in no Mitch Marner, but at the same time it’s worth considering what the Leafs get out of this deal.
The reality is that the Leafs would easily match any offer in the $6M-8M range, and there probably isn’t a team in the league prepared to lose 4 first round picks for Mitch Marner, so the range on Marner is $8M-10M.
The 2nd and 3rd round picks are pretty inconsequential in this circumstance, so really this is about the two firsts, which are most likely to be in back half of the first round. Two late firsts for Mitch Marner is very underwhelming but improves slightly if you consider cap space an asset.
The Leafs having $7M-8M (a more reasonable range for Marner) of free cap space gives the Leafs a lot of flexibility to do other things while still not losing Marner for nothing. Between Marner and Nylander, having $15M locked up long term on two wingers might not be the best outcome for the Leafs as time marches on, and with the talent pipeline for wingers in the Leafs organization, the vacancy of Marner’s departure can be filled cheaper internally, albeit not at level that Marner was performing the role at.
In short, you’re still better off having Marner on the Leafs, but it’s not the end of the world if he’s offersheeted and the Leafs don’t match.
- None of this is going to happen, the Leafs will sign Marner, and we’ll have a glorious Matthews, Nylander, and Marner decade to look forward to.
- In the event that Marner was offersheeted, the Leafs would likely match.
- If the Leafs didn’t match, it would be a short term punch in the gut, but not the end of the world for the Leafs.
- This wouldn’t have even been written if there was hockey on my TV right now.
- I need to stop reading Hockeybuzz.