Toronto Maple Leafs RFA Mitch Marner could be available in the free agency market. So long as the New York Islanders are willing to go above an $11 million AAV.
Cal Clutterbuck. That’s the list of right-handed NHL caliber wingers the New York Islanders have on their roster at the moment. That’s it. And even then, his back is broken and he won’t be on the ice for months.
It’s clear that the New York Islanders need to strengthen their right side this offseason. The main target for Islanders writers, bloggers, and fans has been Columbus Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin. He might play on the left, but he’s a righty and scored 87 points this season.
Panarin is a fantastic player. But there’s a better player out there that could be available. Toronto Maple Leafs Mitch Marner might be an RFA, but it sounds like he’s going to speak with teams in the window before July 1 about an offer sheet.
Offer Sheet Reality?
The offer sheet is often talked about but seldom seen. The last one that was signed was Ryan O’Reilly back in 2013. Six years ago. Back then, a member of the Colorado Avalanche, O’Reilly signed an offer sheet with the Calgary Flames but the Avalanche were quick to match the offer.
The last player to sign an offer sheet and his team accept the compensation was in 2007 when Dustin Penner signed with the Edmonton Oilers.
But according to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Mitch Marner will likely head to the June 26th free agent courting period without a deal. And in that window, he’ll make his rounds to see what teams are willing to offer him.
"“He one hundred percent has earned the right to do that and I’d be shocked if Mitch Marner and Darren Ferris, or Mitch Marner, Darren Ferris and his dad or another member aren’t on an airplane on June 26th, starting the visiting process of the clubs that might be willing to offer sheet.”"
So can the New York Islanders get involved? Absolutely they could.
Dreger expects the Leafs to offer Marner a deal somewhere between $10.5 and $11 million before the June courting period. That means an offer sheet would have to be greater than what the Leafs would be willing to offer. Paying Marner more than $11 a season would be wild. But the Islanders could swing it.
Some key decisions in my team are:
- Nick Leddy traded to Edmonton for a 2020 1st, 2020 2nd, and 2021 2nd
- Anders Lee is re-signed to a $7 million five-year deal
- Robin Lehner is re-signed to a $5.5 million five-year deal
- Valtteri Filppula is back on a one year $3 million deal
- Tom Kunhackl is back on a one year $1 million deal
- Noah Dobson is on the team
(If you have a better set up I’d love to see it. Link it in the comments or reach out to me via Twitter.)
It’s possible for the New York Islanders to make it work. It also leaves them enough cap space to sign players like Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock next season with a $65.294 million cap hit in 2020-21.
This is assuming that Mitch Marner wants to hear what the New York Islanders have to say and then is willing to sign a deal. But if we allow ourselves to indulge a bit, it’s possible to make it work without making all kinds of trades or being too active in the non-Islanders free agency pool.