No doubt about it, the strained negotiations between Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas and budding superstar Mitch Marner has made things difficult for the Leafs’ front office this offseason. Marner’s camp is reportedly not willing to negotiate a contract for any less than $11 million per season on a long-term deal and, as a result, the Leafs have shipped out veteran Patrick Marleau and his $6 million cap hit to make some negotiating room. Still… there’s a lot of work to be done.
Restricted free-agents Andreas Johnston and Kasperi Kapanen have both reportedly signed new team friendly deals, but nothing official yet from the front office. Suffice it to say though, things aren’t exactly perfect when it comes to the Leafs’ cap situation. Maybe that’s why NHL insider Elliotte Friedman’s latest report has Leafs fans scratching their heads. According to Friedman, the Leafs have expressed interest in Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker, who comes with a $5.5 million cap hit.
Check it out:
Interesting. No doubt that with his combination of skill and speed that Zucker would be an excellent addition to the Leafs’ roster, but… how do they fit him in financially? The Leafs currently have $13 million in cap space to sign Marner, Johnsson and Kapanen… oh and I guess they can also forget about Jake Gardiner. If, however, they decide to walk away from Marner, things suddenly get a LOT more flexible.
The question if the Leafs go that route is, what will Minny expect in return? The Leafs have very few assets, aside from the players mentioned above, to offer up in return for Zucker.