News broke a few days ago about the Los Angeles Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs being engaged in trade talk involving veteran forward Patrick Marleau.
Then last night Nick Kypreos broke the news that it’s not just the Kings that are interested in Marleau, but the Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes as well.
Patricks family are heading back to San Jose and it’s being said that he wants to be as close to them as possible. With a return to the Sharks being extremely unlikely based on their cap situation, it’s teams such as the aforementioned three, that are relatively close geographically, that will make the most sense to trade with.
To understand the full situation, and what any deal might look like for Patrick, we should get a few of the CBA rules straight first.
This is from the “Retained Salary Transactions” section of the NHL CBA:
(AA – Averaged Amount/A players cap hit) (SPC – Standard Player Contract)
In the context of Player Trades, participating Clubs will be permitted to allocate the AA and related
Salary and Bonus payment obligations between them, subject to specified parameters (“Retained
Salary Transaction”). Specifically, the Club trading a Player may agree to retain a percentage of the
SPC’s AA and related Salary and Bonus obligations for each of the remaining years of the Player’s
SPC, up to 50% of the SPC’s AA. In each Retained Salary Transaction, the percentage allocation
of the retained AA and retained Salary and Bonuses must be the same (i.e., the Salary and Bonus
obligations as between Clubs would be allocated on the same percentage basis as the AA being
allocated) and cannot be altered from year to year.
So, for instance, if an assigning Club agrees to retain 30% of an SPC’s AA over the balance of its term, it will also retain an obligation to reimburse the acquiring Club 30% of the Player’s contractual compensation (Salary and Bonuses) in each of the remaining years of the contract.
So it seems that the Leafs can retain up to 50% of the salary (1.25M) and Signing Bonus (3M) money that will be owed to Marleau for the upcoming season, or a total of 2.125M.
This can help to move things along, but my guess is the Leafs may want to free themselves of the entire cap hit.
The options then would be to wait until after July 1st, when a portion of the SB owed to Marleau is paid (half, I presume), which would lower his actual dollars owed to just 2.75M (not that I know this for sure)**.
For a veteran with a) Patricks attitude, b) his skating ability, and c) his ability to provide scoring depth, that’s far from an unmanageable amount of money to pay.
For these reasons I believe that moving Marleau is going to be easier than many make it out to be. Here’s hoping I’m not just fooling myself.
So, while we have a general idea about what the Leafs can do to facilitate a trade, lets take a look at the three teams in the rumour mill and why Marleau might be a fit for them.
The Los Angeles Kings
L.A. have found themselves tumbling down the standings the past couple of years, and are picking in the top 5 at the draft for the first time since they took Brayden Schenn at #5 in 2009.
It doesn’t appear that they are going to launch up the standings immediately, but it’s not completely out of the question either. With some solid pieces in place that are locked into long term deals, they’re going to look to improve their supporting cast as well as stock up on picks and prospects for the future.
This is exactly why they are interested in Marleau. A veteran that can “play right” while not breaking the bank should be right up their alley, especially if he can be paired with a mid round pick or potential prospect as compensation for cap relief.
The rumour surrounding L.A. also stats that they’d need to jettison a contract or two to make this work, so there could be too many moving parts here for this deal to come to fruition.
If L.A. is the team that ends up with Marleau we should expect a middling pick to be attached with him to ease their troubles. It’s compensation that they are after and nothing more.
At first you would think that this is right in the Coyotes wheelhouse. A team that has taken on players such as Pavel Datsyuk, Chris Pronger, Marian Hossa, and Dave Bolland after their careers were done in order to obtain picks and prospects and reach the cap floor, the Yotes have danced this tango before.
Is that a thing of the past though?
While Marian Hossa and his 5.275M cap hit is still on the team, the Yotes aren’t below the cap floor. In fact they are closer to the ceiling than ever before.
With all of Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Jacob Chychrun, Christian Dvorak, and Nick Schmaltz entering into the first year of new contracts, and with those contracts providing each with substantial raises, the Coyotes are left with just over 8.6M in cap space. Most of their roster is already signed for next season as well, a roster that missed the playoffs by a mere 4pts while their #1 goaltender played only 12 games due to injury.
Are they after more mid picks, or is this a team that is looking for a good veteran to help them take the next step?
I’m not really sure of that answer, but the situation doesn’t really line up with the rumour if you think it’s only future considerations that they’re after.
Just a thought, but Jason Demers is set to make 7.2M over the next 2 seasons combined (15% of that is to be paid by the Florida Panthers), and he carries a cap hit of a little less than 4M.
Would a straight up swap suit both teams? The Coyotes get a good veteran to help lead their kids, they don’t weaken their top 4 defense as it would still contain OEL, Chychrun, Alex Goligoski and Nicklas Hjalmarsson, and they get away from nearly 4M in cap space just as Alex Galchenyuk, Clayton Keller and Vinnie Hinostroza are due raises.
Meanwhile, the Leafs would get a right shot defender that played nearly 2 minutes a night short handed last year, and would free up over 2M in cap space. Demers has been rumoured to be on the block before, and if the Leafs manage to grant Nikita Zaitsev his wish of a new start on a different team, then they’ll definitely need some help on the right side of the ice.
Just a thought, not even sure if I like the idea myself.
The Avalanche are a team with an incredible top line but not a lot of depth. They also have mountains of cap space at the moment, but should hit the cap floor fairly easily.
With just under 15.5M to go before they do hit the cap floor, they’ll definitely have lots of space to fit Marleau onto the roster. A simple cap dump trade seems too easy to me though, I do wonder if this could get bigger.
With the emergence of Cale Makar in the playoffs, and with right shot defenders Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie already on the big club, many believe that Tyson Barrie could be used as trade bait to help the Avalanche obtain more scoring depth up front. Barrie is entering the final year of a 4 year deal he signed with Colorado, and has combined to produce 128pts over the past two seasons combined (regular season + playoffs). He’s a valuable puck moving defender, and if we know Leafs GM Kyle Dubas, we know that the 5’10”, 190lb defender is directly in line with what they’d probably like to see added to the right side of their defense.
I wonder if picks and/or players such as Nazem Kadri, Andreas Johnsson, or Kasperi Kapanen could be added to a deal that would see Barrie land in Toronto?
The possibilities are endless, but it would be my guess that Joe Sakic will push a little harder to climb the standings in the near future as to not waste the best years of Nathan MacKinnons career, so I wouldn’t count out a head-turning trade too quickly.
It’s tough not to think that a team with cap space wouldn’t be interested in taking a solid veteran like Marleau for the actual dollars owed to him, and it’s for this reason that I think the Leafs can make a deal. I also believe it won’t cost them as heavily on assets as most would think, but teams will definitely want to be compensated (they’re not just going to help the Leafs out).
What I’d also like to point out here, and it seems to be going unnoticed, is the fact that the Leafs are about to move on from one of the most influential personalities the dressing room has seen in a long time. This is a business and the deal should be made, but it really is a shame that it will come at the cost of losing a guy that has helped out young core so much over the past 2 years.
So what are your thoughts? What does a good deal look like for not just the team that acquires Marleau, but also for the Leafs?
**While it has been reported that Marleaus signing bonus is to be paid in two installments, one in July and one in December, the amount of each installment is unknown. My assumption is 50% each payment, but that is simply a guess.