The Toronto Maple Leafs are reportedly hard at work trying to get Mitch Marner under contract while staying under the cap and remaining a top contender next spring.
That is quite the task.
The Maple Leafs have over $74.2 million invested in 17 players for 2019-20, which means they have less than $9 million to work with should the salary cap reach the projected $83 million.
After leading the Leafs with 94 points this season, it is believed that Marner’s agents have been prepared to ask for Auston Matthews money — $11.6 million a year. Too much for the Leafs.
And they might have another obstacle coming their way: their former GM Lou Lamoriello, who is now at the reigns of the New York Islanders. The restless general manager might want to get back at the Leafs for scooping John Tavares off the free-agent market last summer and go after Marner.
This is what Luke Fox of Sportsnet believes might happened this summer in an offer sheet situation:
“An Islanders’ offer sheet for Marner would represent the ultimate I-know-what-you-did-last-summer payback. So many free agents are coming off the books (Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Robin Lehner, Jordan Eberle) that Lou Lamoriello has the cap flexibility to get creative. Also: the man is ruthless.”
This would be a great scenario: one we all know Isles fans will get too passionate about. Sure, the Islanders have a lot on their plate with the focus on keeping Lee, Nelson, Lehner and most importantly Eberle on the roster, but the idea of building their franchise around the talented Leafs winger might be too hard to pass up.
Can’t wait to see if Lou can pull this one off!