Now that the offer sheet window is open, let’s take a look at how realistic it would be for a team to give an offer sheet to Toronto Maple Leafs Restricted Free Agent (RFA) Mitch Marner.
Whichever team decides to send Mitch Marner an offer sheet would have to be willing to pay $12 Million or more per season and also be willing to fork over their next four 1st round draft picks. That’s a very steep price to pay for one player. Anything under $12 Million would most likely be matched by Toronto. The other thing to remember is the team would also have to be a team that Mitch Marner is willing to go to.
Let’s take a look at the teams who could afford to offer $12 million a season and breakdown why they would or wouldn’t send an offer sheet to Mitch Marner.
The Avalanche have almost $39 Million in cap space and could easily afford to offer Mitch Marner $12 Million, but they also only have 13 players signed for next season and they’re not going to target any other RFA’s until they get their own big fish Mikko Rantanen signed. Depending on how much Colorado pays Rantanen, I don’t think they could afford to also pay Marner $12 Million and then have enough money left over to fill out the rest of their roster.
Although the Senators have enough cap space ($33 Million) to offer Mitch Marner $12 Million, the team is in a full rebuild and giving away your 1st round pick for the next four years just doesn’t make sense for a rebuilding team like Ottawa. It’s also well known that Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is not looking to spend large amounts of money on his roster.
Columbus Blue Jackets:
The Blue Jackets have just over $28.6 Million in cap space for next season and although it’s likely that they could be one of the teams willing to offer sheet Mitch Marner, they’d also like to try and resign Matt Duchene. Columbus also needs to sign a new starting goaltender if Sergei Bobrovsky decides not to resign with the team. If Columbus is able to resign Duchene then they’ll lose their 2020 1st round pick to the Ottawa Senators. So until they figure out the Matt Duchene contract first, I don’t see Columbus giving Marner an offer sheet.
New Jersey Devils:
With players like Taylor Hall, P.K Subban, Will Butcher, Pavel Zacha and 2017 1st overall pick Nico Hischier, the Devils have the makings of a good team. Signing Mitch Marner would surely make them an offensive threat and help either centers Hall or Hischier have very productive seasons. Although the Devils do have the cap space ($25.7 Million) to sign Marner, they first have to sign their two big RFAs Will Butcher and Pavel Zacha. After those two players get signed, the Devils will need to see if they can then afford to give Marner $12 Million a season and still have enough left over to try and resign Taylor Hall next summer when he becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA).
Although the Hurricanes have $24.7 Million in cap space for next season, they still have to sign Sebastian Aho and sign both a starting goaltender and a backup goaltender. That won’t leave the team with very much room to bring in Marner at $12 Million. Carolina is also a team that is not looking to spend up to the cap max of $81.5 Million.
The Jets have two very big RFA’s of their own to sign before they even think about signing other players. Both Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor need to be signed and there is no telling how much of the Jets $23.8 Million in cap space those two players will eat up. The Jets could feel like they’re in a win now situation, so they could still send an offer sheet to Marner even if it pushes them up agaist the cap max.
New York Islanders:
With 20 players already signed for next season and $20.7 Million in cap space, the Islanders seem like the most likely team to try and woo Mitch Marner away from Toronto. It is known that the Islanders would like to try and resign Anders Lee who is a UFA this summer, but even if the Islanders could sign Marner to $12 Million that still leaves them with $8.7 million to sign Lee and find a cheap option for the backup goaltender spot. The only real unknown with the Islanders is what the relationship between Micth Marner and Islanders General Manager (GM) Lou Lamoriello is. Lamoriello was the GM in Toronto for Marner’s first two seasons.
Those are the seven teams that I feel would have the best shot at being able to sign Mitch Marner to an offer sheet worth $12 Million or more. Although all seven teams have the cap space and have the four 1st round picks that would be required, they all have their own issues that need to be resolved first. I think the possibility of Mitch Marner playing anywhere other than in Toronto for the next five plus seasons is very unlikely. For now we must all just sit back and wait.