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Photo Credit: © John E. Sokolowski | USA Today

What’s the value of four first round picks you could receive in a Mitch Marner offer sheet?

There has been an insane amount of discussion lately about the possibility of offer sheets. Teams preparing to make this summer worthwhile and acquire those young RFAs with just draft pick compensation. But can it possibly be worth it?

Even the mainstream media is getting in on the action, reporting that teams are definitely going to at least attempt to have an RFA sign an offer sheet for them.

Of course one of those free agents that might be willed away from their original team is the Leafs very own Mitch Marner.

Coming into his own this season, Marner has gained an outstanding amount of attention across the league as a potential offer sheet candidate. Just 21-year-old and on pace to break last year’s total of 69 points with more than 20 games remaining, Marner has looked incredible next to John Tavares.

It makes total sense that teams might be looking to add a player of his calibre without giving up any assets off their current NHL roster. With offer sheets, the compensation for a team (if they decide to not match), increases with the salary.

Since there have been reports that Marner’s camp is looking for a salary above $10-million per season, the compensation if the Leafs decide to let him go to his new team would be the team’s next four first-round picks.

What better way to see if it could be worth it than to look at what players were taken with each team’s last four first-round picks, and decide based on that alone.

So let’s see what that can potentially look like, just to see what type of players the Leafs could potentially get down the road for letting Marner go.

Note: I included the players that were picked with the team’s original pick. For example, Mat Barzal was picked with the Penguins’ original pick.

Anaheim Ducks

Jacob Larsson (2015)

Max Jones (2016)

Henri Jokiharju (2017)

Isac Lundestrom (2018)

This is a hard pass for me. Sure, Jokiharju has shown some amazing talent on the back end and Isac Lundestrom is an extremely promising prospect. But for two maybe solid talents, giving up Marner just hurts too bad.

Arizona Coyotes

Dylan Strome

Clayton Keller

Lias Andersson

Barrett Hayton

Strome’s recent play with the Blackhawks and Keller’s entire existence might be tough to pass up, but neither are on the same level as Marner right now. This might end up being quantity succeeding over quality, but it’s a massive ehhhhhhh from me. But I’ll say yes.

Boston Bruins

Jake Debrusk

Charlie McAvoy

Urho Vaakanainen

Jacob Bernard-Docker

No way in hell. McAvoy is okay, but you have to be kidding me with getting these four as a deal for Marner. Hypothetically imagining Marner in a Bruins jersey might make me lose a couple of days.

Buffalo Sabres

Jack Eichel

Alexander Nylander

Casey Mittelstadt

Rasmus Dahlin

I guess if a team wants to give the Leafs the possibility of four top-10 picks, why not take them and run. No way Mitch moves the needle that much for a team, so this is totally a possibility for a desperate team. cc: Ottawa Senators.

Calgary Flames

Zachary Senyshyn

Matthew Tkachuk

Jusso Valimaki

Noah Dobson

Tkachuk has turned into one of the best wingers in the entire NHL and Valimaki has a future ahead of him, but they lack that flash of Mitch Marner. Just for entertainment alone, this is a no from me.

Carolina Hurricanes

Noah Hanifin

Jake Bean

Martin Necas

Andrei Svechnikov

This is certainly a tough one from me. Hanifin has turned into the top-4 defenceman that he was planned to be and Svechnikov might just be one of the league’s best shooters for his entire career. We’ll have to see how it turns out, but it’s fun.

Chicago Blackhawks

Nick Merkley

German Rubtsov

Jake Oettinger

Adam Boqvist

LOL no. I’m good thanks.

Colorado Avalanche

Mikko Rantanen

Tyson Jost

Cale Makar

Martin Kaut

Everyone’s favourite forward to rank ahead of Marner in a 2015 re-draft, Mikko Rantanen is certainly intriguing, so it’s a yes. Makar and Kaut are going to be absolutely perfect on this Avs team soon.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Zach Werenski

Pierre-Luc Dubois

Kristian Vesalainen

Liam Foudy

There seems to always be at least one top player within these picks, I guess that makes sense. But it is certainly hard to give up Marner when the possibility of the best forward coming back is *checks notes* Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Dallas Stars

Denis Gurianov

Riley Tufte

Miro Heiskanen

Ty Dellandrea

Ehhhhhhhhh, no. Heiskanen is the pure definition of a presence on the blue line, but Marner is too fun.

Detroit Red Wings

Evgeny Svechnikov

Jakob Chychrun

Michael Rasmussen

Filip Zadina

Do you think I would want ANYONE drafted by the Red Wings?

Edmonton Oilers

Connor McDavid (lol)

Jesse Puljujarvi

Kailer Yamamoto

Evan Bouchard

I guess this is the easiest one in the bunch. Of fucking course I would take McDavid, but how often would a team willingly give up the possible top pick? *looks slightly East of Toronto* …oh right.

Florida Panthers

Lawson Crouse

Henrik Borgstrom

Owen Tippett

Grigori Denisenko

These are good players, but I’m getting a gut feeling to say no. Borgstrom looks good, Tippett is still in the OHL, and Denisenko had a good World Juniors. So I can totally judge by brief appearances.

Los Angeles Kings

Jakub Zboril

Julien Gauthier

Gabriel Vilardi

Rasmus Kupari

This is just pathetic. Probably the biggest scenario that one could point to for not letting Marner walk.

Minnesota Wild

Joel Eriksson Ek

Luke Kunin

Pierre-Oliver Joseph

Filip Johansson

Again, no I’m good with these weird prospects. Also, who are these people?

Montreal Canadiens

Noah Juulsen

Mikhail Sergachev

Ryan Poehling

Jesperi Kotkaniemi

Getting another Leafs fan in Poehling back for Marner is intriguing, and all four of these players will surely be solid NHL players. So I guess I’m alright with this. I feel dirty.

Nashville Predators

Travis Konecny

Dante Fabbro

Eeli Tolvanen

Nicolas Beaudin

There are plenty of complementary pieces here – Tolvanen and Konecny especially, but I can’t imagine any of these players having the pure impact of Marner. Thanks but no thanks.

New Jersey Devils

Pavel Zacha

Logan Brown

Nico Hischier

Ty Smith

Even with some high picks in here, just by the luck of the draw, this group of random players doesn’t look too good. Smith can be a top-4 defenceman soon and Hischier is very, very good. But that’s just not enough.

New York Islanders

Colin White

Kieffer Bellows

Erik Brannstrom

Oliver Wahlstrom

White is the only player to play an NHL game so far, so it’s hard to tell. Brannstrom and Wahlstrom have the potential to be top players on their relative teams, but for right now, it’s a no.

New York Rangers

Anthony Beauvillier

Dennis Cholowski

Filip Chytil

Vitali Kravtsov

Yes – yes I would. Cholowski has shown up as a surprise in Detroit and seems polished for his age. Beauvillier and Chytil don’t have a ton of games under their belt, but

Ottawa Senators

Thomas Chabot

Michael McLeod

Shane Bowers

Brady Tkachuk

Okay, okay, I understand that Chabot is someone to really look for in the future, but to basically just have him and then Brady Tkachuk, that isn’t enough for me.

Philadelphia Flyers

Ivan Provorov

Logan Stanley

Nolan Patrick

Jay O’Brien

No, just no. Provorov and Patrick are fine NHL players, but O’Brien was a surprise reach pick in last year’s draft and Logan Stanley is basically tall Roman Polak.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Mathew Barzal

Sam Steel

Klim Kostin

K’Andre Miller

I feel bad, but hell yes. Obviously, Barzal makes it a lot easier but Steel was able to do some things early on with the Ducks this year, Kostin had a very good World Juniors, and K’Andre Miller is absolutely killing it in the NCAA this year. This is the type of home run that you dream of.

San Jose Sharks

Timo Meier

Trent Frederic

Josh Norris

Ryan Merkley

I feel like I’m repeating myself, but with a lot of these groups, there only seems to be one sure thing NHL player. Meier has absolutely dominated in every single way with the Sharks this season. Merkley is a solid bet to make and Norris is just there.

St. Louis Blues

Jack Rosolvic

Lucas Johansen

Robert Thomas

Joel Farabee

A bunch of middle-six dudes? No thanks. These players can definitely make a difference for your depth, but none of them is that top-level talent.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Gabriel Carlsson

Brett Howden

Cal Foote

Nils Lundkvist

This is just kind of sad. Makes sense with where the Lightning have been drafting, but these are just going to be a bunch of future depth players.

Vancouver Canucks

Brock Boeser

Olli Juolevi

Elias Pettersson

Quinn Hughes

My god, YES. Even with potential bust Juolevi in there, basically having the next ten-year core of the Canucks just because there was a potential offer sheet signed, give me that right now. I feel like I don’t even have to explain this one further.

Vegas Golden Knights

N/A

N/A

Cody Glass

Joseph Veleno

Only two players, so I guess this isn’t fair, but I’m going to say it anyways. No.

Washington Capitals

Ilya Samsonov

Tage Thompson

Morgan Frost

Alexander Alexeyev

Ehhhhhhhhhh, including a goaltender is hard, but I would generally just say no. Frost is bound to be in the NHL at some point, but those other two guys are just whatever.

Winnipeg Jets

Kyle Connor

Patrik Laine

Nick Suzuki

Rasmus Sandin

I might be biased because our lovely boy Sandin is in there – but YES. Laine alone should give a little nudge in the right direction, but including Suzuki and Connor is just amazing. All four potential top-6/top-4 talents.


It was a tough exercise (and a long one), but I feel that it’s closer than many think.

Including some lottery picks and even some first-overall players felt like cheating, but we have seen crazier things happen. Like trading two unprotected firsts and having one of them turn to be second-overall and that player would have changed your franchise but now you’re stuck with a player the media hates.

The total tally of the decisions are:

YES: 10

NO: 20

Probably the biggest surprise for me was the Penguins group. This is exactly what you would be looking for – no top picks but every player is sure to be in the NHL. That would be the kind of team that could probably get Marner to sign something.

I’m sure there are some that are disagreeable, but bias is a hell of a drug.

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  • getrdone

    Very interesting look at the what if’s. This certainly gives a cold hearted look at what could possibly go on IF Marner was the object of an offer sheet.

  • Bob Canuck

    I think Thomas Williams took an interesting approach to assessing the value of the first round picks. The other element to consider is the money saved on Marner that could be used to lure a free agent who is nearly equivalent to Marner. In that case, perhaps hitting on one of the first rounders and the free agent acquisition approximates the value of Marner alone. Another possibility is to use the money saved on Marner to retain one or more players that the Leafs would otherwise lose due to cap constraints.

    To be clear, my preference would be to have Marner. However, scenarios with the Leafs not signing Marner are interesting to consider.

  • Interesting, I put less value on the picks now that I see them in retrospect. I still think the circumstances around an offer sheet still make it incredibly rare… a team has to have the cap room, and the picks to even offer, AND Marner has to accept it for it to even be a thing. I doubt there are many teams that fit those circumstances for it to be even worth the attempt, let alone the fact that there are possibly more intriguing players to offer-sheet (Point, Rantanen).