Among other trade rumours involving the Leafs as of late, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings are reportedly talking about a trade involving Patrick Marleau heading to LA.
Holy mama.
Carrying a $6.25-million cap hit for next season before he heads to free agency or retirement, the Leafs are approaching a cap crunch with Marner, Kapanen and Johnsson all needing new contracts this summer.
Depending on the return, this would most likely be done to free up some space to re-sign those players or just provide some cap flexibility.
Marleau scored 16 goals and 37 points in a full 82-game season last year, averaging his lowest time-on-ice since the 2001-02 season.
Originally brought in with the glow of veteran presence ooziing from every pore of his body, the former San Jose Shark has caused some patience to be lost among fans. Especially with immense discussions on upcoming contracts and the Leafs’ cap structure, his one year remaining appears to be the reason for some lost sleep.
As Pierre LeBrun alludes to, he currently has a full no-move clause and completely dictates his future. That is one small aspect that can make or break this trade — from the outside, Marleau appears to at least be happy with his young phenom teammates and enjoys holiday dinners and singing YMCA in cars.
Former San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan now being named the head coach in Los Angeles is a factor as well, leading to some connection to his potential new team.
For the return on a trade like this, the Kings would need to send some contracts to Toronto to make this completely make sense. One player that was linked mid-season is Kyle Clifford. A former Soo Greyhound that can provide some depth to the left side and carries just a $1.6-million cap hit for next year only makes too much sense.
He scored 11 goals and 21 points last season for the Kings — he would essentially replace Marleau for almost $5-million less on the cap.
Whatever the return is, this could be seen as a pure cap dump and will give some much-needed cap room for Toronto.