The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded veteran forward Patrick Marleau to the Carolina Hurricanes, along with a conditional first-round pick in 2020 and a seventh-round pick in 2020 in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2020.
According to Chris Johnston, the first-round pick in lottery protected. If it comes out in the top-10 next season, it’ll become a 2021 first-round pick instead. Marleau will also be bought-out by the Hurricanes, according to Johnston, and will likely return to the San Jose Sharks in free agency.
This deal carries a hefty sum for the Maple Leafs who are working on clearing cap space where they can to sign some of their own restricted free agents to contracts. The biggest name up for renegotiation, of course, being Mitch Marner.
Marleau signed a three-year, $18.75 million contract with the Maple Leafs in 2017 that came with a full no-movement clause and carried a $6.25 million cap hit each season. For the Maple Leafs, the last season on this deal was just too much for them to deal with on their current timeline and they were forced to part ways at the expense of a conditional first-round pick.
Marleau may have regressed during the 2018-19 season, scoring 16 goals and 37 points in 82 games, but he still scored 27 goals and 47 points in his first season with the Maple Leafs a year prior. Before that, he scored almost identical totals of 25 goals and 48 points in 2015-16 and 27 goals and 46 points in 2016-17 while still in San Jose.
At 39 years old, regression might finally be setting in for the 6-foot-2, 218-pound forward. Despite this, he still adds a veteran presence in the locker room and proved during his time in Toronto that he can hold a very significant as a leader for the younger players on the roster.
While Marleau isn’t the player he proved to be for two decades, he’s still able to contribute on and off the ice for this team.
With both the Maple Leafs and Hurricanes looking to make a run at the Stanley Cup for the foreseeable future, this trade makes sense for both sides. Taking on the buy-out cost for Marleau may not seem like the best use of cap space, but the value of the first-round pick just makes sense from an asset management standpoint.
First Significant Draft Trade
This is the most significant trade of the Draft so far and it doesn’t even have any consequences on the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. While the Philadelphia Flyers and Arizona Coyotes made a swap of picks on Day One, the rest of the NHL remained quiet as teams stood pat with uncertainty as the 2019-20 salary cap numbers have still not been formally announced.
For teams looking to make a splash heading into the 2019-20 season, not leveraging their first-round pick into a bigger package could ultimately be very harmful as there’s no currency more valuable than first-round draft selections.