On the morning of the second day of the 2019 NHL Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced that they have traded forward Patrick Marleau to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Accompanying Marleau to Carolina will be the Leafs’ 2020 first-round pick, with a top-10 protection condition, and a 2020 seventh-round pick. Coming back the other way is a 2020 sixth-round pick for the Leafs.
With one year left on his three-year deal with a cap hit of $6.25-million, the move was necessary for a Toronto team in desperate need for some cap relief. A first-round pick is a steep price to pay, but in the upcoming transactions, it might be the right price if the Leafs can use that cap space well.
According to Chris Johnston, Marleau waived his no-move clause to allow the Leafs to move his contract to Carolina. He will now be bought out by the Hurricanes and most likely return to the San Jose Sharks, the team he has played almost 1500 games for before signing with the Leafs as a free agent two summers ago.
The resulting buyout for the Hurricanes will carry the full $6.25-million cap hit for the 2019-20 season, but that will be it.
Marleau played two full 82-game seasons for the Leafs and provided a vital veteran presence on this up-and-coming team. On the ice was a generally useful player — scoring 43 goals and 84 points in those two seasons — but the timeline and his contract were too much for Toronto’s remaining cap structure.
With important contracts to sign in the coming days, the Leafs needed to clear his contract and paid a first-round pick to do it.