Patrick Marleau could be moved this summer in order to free up cap space for the Toronto Maple Leafs, that’s well known at this point. What isn’t known is just what it will take to move on from the 6.25M cap hit the veteran will carry through the 2019-20 season.
In order to figure it out it may be worth the time to look back at some other deals that fit into the salary dump thread.
To ARI: Niklas Grossman, Chris Pronger
To PHI: Sam Gagner, conditional 4th or 3rd
At the time Grossman was around 30 years old and had 1 year remaining on his deal. Sam Gagner had 1 year left as well but was owed 5M compared to Grossman, who was owed 3.5M. Pronger had 2 years left with a caphit that was just under 5M, but was owed just 575K in each year.
This one was as much a salary dump for the Yotes and a good way for them to get to the cap floor.
To DET: Joe Vitale, 1st (#20, Dennis Cholowski), 2nd
To ARI: Pavel Datsyuk, 1st (#16, Jacob Chychrun)
At the time of the trade Vitale was around 30 and had 1 year left on his deal, he was owed 1.3M and had just come off a 9pt season. Datsyuk had 1 year left on his deal as well but walked away from the contract so he wasn’t eligible to collect any money.
Basically the Yotes moved up 4 spots in the draft and it cost them a 2nd, but they also ditched 1.3M to do it.
To FLA: 3rd, conditional 2nd round pick in 2018. (The condition was that the Panthers also get a 2nd if Crouse played in more than 10 games that season, the condition was met).
To ARI: Dave Bolland, Lawson Crouse
This one is a good return because Bolland didn’t have an insured contract so had to be paid in full. He was owed 16.5M total over 3 years, or 5.5M per season. A 2nd and 3rd round pick, as well as 16.5M is apparently the cost for a former 11th overall pick that had just finished his draft +1 year.
To CHI: Marcus Kruger, MacKenzie Entwistle, Jordan Maletta, Andrew Campbell, 5th round pick
To ARI: Vinnie Hinostroza, Jordan Oesterle, Marian Hossa, 3rd round pick
This is the latest Arizona cap dump deal, and it’s a doozie. When Hossa was traded he was owed a total of 3M. Kruger was owed 2.3M but he was going to play for the Hawks. Basically Arizona got a 24 year old that had just produced 25pts in 50 games (Hinostroza), a 25 year old defender that had just finished his rookie year (Oesterle), and a 3rd round pick. Chicago received a former 3rd round pick whose development didn’t appear to be progressing in the CHL (Entwistle), a prospect that, simply put, wasn’t going anywhere (Maletta), a solid AHL veteran defender (Campbell), a 5th round pick, and a 4th line C that is overpaid (Kruger) but had always managed to serve a role for the Hawks that former Head Coach Joel Quenneville valued highly.
In short, Arizona added a lot of names to the deal but nothing of real use outside of Marcus Kruger, in return they added some depth pieces and moved up two draft rounds. Not bad.
To CLB: David Clarkson
To TOR: Nathan Horton
This is one that Leafs fans will remember well…. and probably fondly.
David Clarksons time in Toronto quickly became a disaster. He was a shadow of the player that once scored 30 goals and brought a physical presence every night while suiting up for the New Jersey Devils. It got to a point where then GM, Dave Nonis, opted to trade Clarkson for Nathan Horton. Horton was unofficially retired from hockey due to back issues, and would never play for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
This deal made sense for both sides as Clarkson needed a new start, and Nathan Hortons contract was not insured so would have to be paid out in full, something the Columbus Blue Jackets were not prepared to do.
To COL: Brooks Orpik, Philipp Grubauer
To WSH: 2nd round pick
The Washington Capitals had just won the Stanley Cup, and while Alex Ovechkin went on a summer long bender to celebrate their management team was hard at work trying to keep the team together.
With players such as Tom Wilson, John Carlson, Michael Kempny and Lars Eller up for contract renewals there just wasn’t enough cap space to go around.
The Avalanche needed a goalie and Philipp Grubauer would have certainly cost more than a 2nd in a stand alone trade, so the teams opted to attach veteran defender Brooks Orpik to the deal. Two days later Orpik was bought out, a month later he was signed to a one million dollar contract to return to the Wahington Capitals.
For my money the best comparison to Patrick Marleau would be the deal made by the Avalanche and Capitals for Brooks Orpik. While Marian Hossa, Pavel Datsyuk, Chris Pronger, Nathan Horton and Dave Bolland were all players that were done with the game by the time the trades were made, Brooks Orpik was still playing and had simply outgrown his cap hit. The same could be said for Marleau, as he just produced 37pts and has been a positive influence on Torontos youth, but isn’t playing at a 6.25M pace.
If Toronto could mimic that deal by attaching a young player with potential and getting a decent pick in return, then it could make a ton of sense in the long run. Connor Brown or Andreas Johnsson may fit the bill. Both are players in their mid twenties that could slot higher in another teams lineup than they have in Toronto (especially Brown). Most see Connor Brown as a cap casualty as well and expect him to be traded, as he has been held to the 4th line in Toronto for the most part, but is likely a prototypical 3rd line winger on most teams. It’s only due to Torontos depth at the right wing position that he is so far down the lineup, and paying a 4th liner 2.1M may be a little too luxurious in their current state.
Also, might this be why the Colorado Avalanche are even mentioned in the Patrick Marleau rumours in the first place? While it seems that Arizona GM John Chayka has his idea of what a salary dump trade should be, it’s Colorado GM Joe Sakic that has already promised a player a buyout in order to facilitate a trade and improve the return. Could this be Pattys way of finishing his career in San Jose? By way of a Colorado buyout and a cheap deal to return to his original club? For his sake it’s a pleasant thought. For what it’s worth, here are the buyout numbers for Patrick Marleau according to capfriendly.com:
|SEASON||BASE SALARY||INITIAL CAP HIT||ACTUAL COST||SAVINGS||FINAL CAP HIT|
Because his actual salary is so low it would actually be fairly cheap to buy the contract out, and may be worth it to a team that’s willing to shoulder a 6.25M cap hit.
Also, this is what Pierre Lebrun had to say about the Arizona Coyotes involvement in the deal:
Leafs and Coyotes have also chatted about Patrick Marleau. My sense is that for Arizona to get more interested Toronto would have to attach a premium asset in the trade as well.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 2, 2019
What exactly is a “premium” asset? Would Brown or Johnsson constitute as such? I’ll leave that for smarter minds to decide. All I know is the return to Toronto, if one of those players are in fact tied in with a deal, would be paramount in determining how costly it was to shed Marleaus cap hit.
So what are your thoughts Leaf Nation? Would you be willing to attach a player like Connor Brown to Patrick Marleau if it meant getting a lesser return for said player, but opened up cap space this summer? Let me know in the comments!!