The Toronto Maple Leafs have some serious contract negotiations coming their way this summer. The hardest one could be Mitch Marner.
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Mitch Marner has been nothing short of spectacular since he cracked the Toronto Maple Leafs roster. That could prove to be costly though.
Since joining the NHL, Mitchell Marner has scored 185 points in 201 games played (averaging .92 points per game). This season though has been his best to date scoring 55 points in just 42 games. Marner has been driving his line, which has regularly been John Tavares, Zach Hyman and himself. Marner is averaging 19:38 time on ice with a 104.5 PDO (sum of a team’s shooting percentage and its save percentage). This means when he is on the ice the puck goes in the opponents net significantly more than his own. Marner also has 51 CF% (corsi for percentage) which seems low, but does tell us his team posses the puck the majority of the time he is on the ice.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are getting their monies worth from Mitch Marner this year. Currently, he ranks 9th in league scoring and 3rd in cost per point. The Toronto Maple Leafs are paying just $16,258 per point from Mitch Marner this season. That’s only behind Mikko Rantanen and Brayden Point. It is worth noting that all 3 players are on their final year of a 3 year entry level deal. Looking at the players ahead of Marner in scoring this season 6 of them are on standard NHL contracts (Point and Rantanen being the exceptions) the average cost per point in $124,354. Assuming that Marner is on pace for 110 points this season at $124,354 per point, then the Leafs would be paying Marner $13,678,940. But, that won’t happen.
Mitch Marner’s agent, Darren Ferris (same agent that represents Taylor Hall, Nolan Patrick and Shea Weber) said they will not negotiate a contract in season. This isn’t surprising since his client is putting up career numbers.
In addition, they likely want to see what Auston Matthews signs for. As they know that Marner will have to slot in somewhere under him. Marner will likely earn more than what his teammate, William Nylander signed for (6.9 million), but he’ll more than likely earn less than Matthews.
Current Salary Cap
The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a safe spot with their cap situation with just over $4.7 million in space free.
Next season, they have Jake Gardiner, Ron Hainsey, Martin Marincin, Par Lindholm and Micheal Hutchinson coming off of the books. All-in-all, assuming none of those players are re-signed that will free another $8.5 million (roughly). This now means that the Leafs have about $13.2 million in cap relief after their unrestricted free agents.
In addition, the Toronto Maple Leafs also have a few restricted free agents to sign in the off-season. The aforementioned Marner and Matthews as well as Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, Igor Ozhiganov and Garret Sparks. All of which would require a pay raise. Of that $13.2 million, the rest of the RFAs (excluding Matthews and Marner) would account for roughly $8 million of that (Kapanen at 4, Johnsson at 2, Ozhiganov and Sparks both at 1 million).
Where does the extra money come from?
The salary cap is going up from $79.5 million to $83 million next season as per Gary Bettman that allows for $3.5 million not already calculated.
Additionally, the Toronto Maple Leafs have a couple of contracts that are movable assets. If need be, the Maple Leafs could look to trade Connor Brown and/or Zach Hyman to free up some cap space. Brown makes $2.1 million for 1 more year and Hyman makes $2.25 for 2 more. Both, Hyman and Brown are quality NHL players and do help the Toronto Maple Leafs win games even though neither contribute a whole lot offensively. The unfortunate reality is the Leafs have a lot of top end talent and when you pay the top end talent, it sometimes means that you to trade useful assets.
Assuming that Brown and Hyman are dealt, Kyle Dubas, the general manager of Toronto Maple Leafs will have to continue to find players like Tyler Ennis on bargain deals who can fill the void left by Brown and Hyman.
If I had to guess, Marner will be asking for $10 million. He wont get $10 million, but I expect his average annual value to be close to $9 million.
If Marner signs for anything less than $8.5, Kyle Dubas deserves a raise.
Salary cap research – CapFriendly.com
Stats – Hockey-reference.com
featured image photo credit – Josh Tessler