NHL Rumor Mill – September 28, 2018

by | Sep 28, 2018 | Rumors | 63 comments

Latest on William Nylander, Mitch Marner and Jake Gardiner in an all-Leafs NHL rumor mill.

TORONTO STAR: In a recent mailbag segment, Kevin McGran was asked if it was permissible for the agent for Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander to contact rival NHL clubs to encourage them to send his client an offer sheet. He confirms Nylander’s agent is allowed to do this with his client’s blessing but it would be a pointless endeavor.

McGran believes the Leafs will match the offer, which would discourage a rival general manager from pitching the offer in the first place. Nylander would also have to sign the offer sheet, which would signal to fans and teammates that’s he’s unhappy in Toronto and wants to leave.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s why offer sheets are so rare. In every case but one, the offer was matched. Ryan O’Reilly was the last player to sign an offer sheet back in 2013 when he was with the Colorado Avalanche. As McGran points out, a rival GM isn’t going to waste his time when he knows the Leafs will match. Nylander also probably isn’t inclined to go that route. He wants to stay with the Leafs but also wants what he considers fair compensation. If he changes teams, it’ll be via trade, not an offer sheet. 

Mitch Marner could prove an expensive re-signing for the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images)

  THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell suggests the Leafs could find it difficult re-signing winger Mitch Marner next season if he continues exceeding expectations. In that case, he feels $10 million annually won’t be enough. Like Nylander, Marner won’t have arbitration rights next summer and his only leverage will be to withhold his services. That could make Marner a tempting offer sheet target, “if for no other reason than to force the Leafs to match the offer, which would put them in a further bind with the salary cap.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Leafs currently have over $48 million invested in 11 players. Assuming Nylander is re-signed for $6 million annually, they’ll have over $54 million tied up in 12 players. Now let’s assume Auston Matthews is re-signed next summer for $11 million annually. That’s $65 million for 13 players. They’ll have enough space to handle $11 million for Marner but now that cap hit’s up to $76 million for 14 players. If the cap rises to $84 million for 2019-20, that won’t leave much for the Leafs to re-sign or replace defensemen Jake Gardiner and Ron Hainsey and still have enough to ice a competitive roster.

If the Marner camp proves open to an offer sheet, things could get sticky for Toronto. But as I noted earlier, offer sheets are scarcer than hen’s teeth. If Marner’s not interested in one, the Leafs won’t have to worry about another team trying to sign him away. 

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: cites NHL insider Darren Dreger telling Toronto’s TSN 1050 he thinks Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner could command something in the high $6 million-to-low $7 million range on his next contract. Dreger bases that assumption on Gardiner having another season comparable to last year’s 52-point performance. Slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, his current annual cap hit is $4.05 million. He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some will scoff at Dreger’s assessment but never underestimate the ability of NHL general managers to overpay for free-agent talent. He noted Kevin Shattenkirk got $6.65-million per season for four years, which could be the target for the Gardiner camp. 



  1. There is just something not right about Jake Gardiner getting paid 7 mil a year …

    • Your telling me !!

      • Wait for it though … the justification is coming!

      • Lmao, George!
        I really appreciate your humor in the morning…

      • LOL George……good one.
        I do agree with O.P. Jake Gardiner making 7 million sounds ridiculous. Hopefully he isn’t getting that from the Leafs. How’s that Shattenkirk signing working out btw?

      • I think we’re all just waiting for the resident expert on everything to pipe in with his usual needs 400 games or bounce back season drivel.


      • What didn’t surprise me was the lack of any comment one way or another about Letestu getting only a 2-way deal after a career of 558 nhl games played and totals of 93 goals and 117 assists for 210 points. Which is about what that type of production should warrant. And yet the other day, the waiver process for Zach Smith. Whose totals are even worse with 542 games played and 85 goals and 80 points for 165 points drew howls of derision about the “moronic” Senators management going down that road, as if his $3.2 mil guaranteed contract was worth that sort of production.

  2. The thing about Toronto’s cap situation is that Marleau wont’t, and never intended to, play that out. After July 1 there’s only 1.5 mill left on his deal. No way he wants to play a full preseason, season and playoffs for only that small an amount.

    Marleau will either develop jock itch like Hossa, or he’ll volunteer to be sent to robidas island with a nice cushy coaching/scouting gig courtesy of the Leafs, or he will retire and the Leafs will have to give up a pick to get someone to take the cap hit.

    Either way that’s another almost 7 mill you can add to the Leafs cap space.

    • I disagree here …I see Marleau signing for another 2 years …year by year at the league minimum each year !

      He will resign and the Leafs would be happy to do so ! IMO

      • 0 chance that Marleau signs for 2 years @ league minimum.
        Where do you come up with this drivel?

        Im being serious (I’ve seen that poster write his nonsense for so long on here, you’d think there would be a clue to be had)

    • Mst

      With you. I had trouble with the 3 year contract from the start.

      It’s a little worse than you’ve stated… post 1/7/19 he is owed only $1.25M not $1.5M

      That’s even less incentive to stay .

      Proving a career ending ailment will now be highly scrutinized and basically impossible if untrue. He’s a healthy horse … extremely unlikely that he he’d be deemed unfit to play.

      By 2/7/19 he will have collected $17.5M. Not saying for sure he won’t play … but as you’ve pointed out … seems more unlikely than likely. Would have been more prudent for Lou to offer him 2 * $8.75M.

      At time of signing Marleau there would have been only a glimmer of the possibility of getting Tavares so Cap crunch for 19/20 season ; at time of signing Marleau; was less likely so less problematic

      That said … writing a contract so heavily front end laden with only $1.25M left as an incentive to play prob between 90-100 games at 40 ; to a guy that is already very well off and at such a high cap hit when you knew at the very least that MM and AM would be in line with substantial increases for that year…. is mind boggling

      Marleau is great and I would love to have him on the team in 19/20 …. just not at that cap hit.

      What’s it cost Dubas in trade on July 2nd?

      Marleau has a NMC btw

    • If he retires before completion of his full contract his full cap hit stays as part of a 35 and over contract.

      But you’re saying that Marleau, one of the leagues iron men for staying healthy his whole career, is suddenly going to develop a career ending injury that will require LTIR and that wont be scrutinized? especially at a time when the leafs need cap relief? Please.

      I don’t think that other teams are going to be knocking down their door to help them out of their cap problem either.

    • Does that matter ? If he does retire like your so sure , his cap hit will remain and then the leafs skis have to pay his replacement. How does this help the leafs situation ? He negotiated a no move clause in that contract for a reason .

  3. If I am Lou Lamoriello I absolutely offer sheet Nylander and next summer offer sheet both Mathews and Marner and there is no way the Leafs could match all. The reason more offer sheets don’t happen is because of collusion among teams management more than anything, it gives the players more leverage.
    Offer sheeting another teams restricted free agents is considered a “greasy” thing to do.

    • Keep in mind at the dollar value mentioned for Matthews and Marner any amount more than $10.15M the compensation would be 4 first round picks. Any team making this offer must have their own first round picks to offer as compensation, not a pick from another team acquired via trade.

    • The problem with that is Marner would need to want to play on Long Island. I’m pretty sure most people wouldnt want to.

      • Part of players not wanting to play for the Islanders in the past was the organization more than the location. Lou could change the culture.

        AM would be worth the 4 picks to 75% of the league. Marner would not get that offer above 10m unless he is the 2nd coming of Patrick Kane this season

      • Marner might well be exactly that ds if he plays mostly with Tavares. He certainly knows where the net is.

    • Lou is fully aware of Nylander and maybe doesn’t want him on his team. But really why would you want to pay Nylander $8m+ is he worth that today?

      • NOOO….. especially not without a Center like Matthews !

        Nylander would obsolete without a #1 superstar Center.

      • Kal, I get that Nylander may not be worth 8M/year but you are undervaluing him. That being said, I would accept the 4 first rounders for him with zero hesitation

      • It really doesn’t matter who the player is or isn’t playing with it only matters what their stats are and Nylander’s stats say he should get 8 mil per. 60+ points in the league now gets a player that. There will be players getting more than McDavid gets before his contract runs out.

      • Obsolete without Matthews?

        I seriously wonder about some people here, easy to tell who actually played the game at a high level, compared to those house-cats…

    • Nylander the Islander sounds fitting. Lamoriello would have to surrender significant compensation in picks. It would be a pretty good top line: Barzal Nylander and Eberle. However not happening Toronto would match.

      • Nylander, barzal and eberle?

        How soft would that be?

  4. Lol Lyle I read the headline and knew it would be a sad day in the Timor mill. They will have media hype with the Jonny T signing but that will die quick. On that note tho who cares about the leafs.. they haven’t won s**t in over 50 years unless you want to count the Marlins… and that won’t change.

    Nylanders camp wants 7.5… I know they shoot high but they should take 6…

    This year will be their best chance, and they will be out in the second round. Gaurenteed and will be in cap hell. They should trade Willy.
    Poor leafs fans always rooting for a winner I almost feel for yas.

    • Barring any injuries I think Tavares, Matthews, Marner, Kadri and Nylander if he gets signed are all going to have career years and whether or not they make it to the first or second round of the playoffs or not…will be very fun to watch during the regular season. Marleau no matter how old he is will still get his 20 to 30 goals

    • who do you cheer for

  5. Leafs plan is to let Gardiner walk like JVR at the end of the season, lilygren will be up after Christmas and Sandin should make the team next fall. That will help the cap issues. Marleau will work it out with leafs one way or another to help both parties. With leafs minor league depth they will be able to move out fringe veterans and bring in young talent for years to come. That is the one way to pay your stars and still be under the salary cap. Trust Kyle to make it work.

    • I’m sorry, I just don’t see how replacing Gardiner with a 19 year old Lilygren would make the defence better. Yes, it would help the cap, but you would be making the weakest part of the team weaker.

      • Agree there after seeing the holes in the kid’s defensive game in that rookie tournament. He’s at least 2 years away from regular NHL duty. That said, they still need to find a way to get a decent D to plug in the top 4 that plays a better stay-at-home style – but can still move the puck out his own zone – than Gardiner displays on a nightly basis, irregardless of how many points he produces. Especially if he and his agent are seeking longer term at anywhere near $7 mil per.

      • Anything is a + on “Defence” when subtracting Gardiner.

        His position is “D” but he hardly plays it, he isn’t any good at it. He is a glorified 4th forward on ice.

  6. I don’t think Dubas gets to July 1 without an extension on both AM and MM.

    He is potentially open to offer sheet on MM but DEFINITELY on AM.

    Arizona will have absolutely no trepedation on a AM offer sheet … home town boy … I truly believe that it would mean selling considerably more seasons tickets and well worth the expense of 4 first rounders … they have prospects and young team … big increase in fan base if AM goes there.

    The 4 first rounders are a given … so it comes down to offer … he’s worth $12M to them anyway … a premium of $2M not unworthy as that should easily be offset with expected increases in revs… $14M * 7 heavy on SB… could Leafs realistically match?? I have trouble seeing it.

    I know it is irrelevant if he doesn’t sign the offer sheet … but does anybody realistically believe he would turn down that offer from his home town??

    The speculative result … Dubas needs to get AM signed pre 1/7/19… my repeated preference is a bridge


    • I don’t think the leafs will bridge Matthews, I think they’d be better off getting him locked down at $11/year right now. If you bridge him and he scores 100 points and 50 goals year in and out then he’ll easily command $13 – $15/year in two or three years.

      • Hi Kent … bridge or long term ; they’ll need to do it pre Jul 1

        I’m still for bridge

        He may be worth $15M to Arz but not leafs yet

        I’d rather Bridge … even if 2@$9M then even using ur $13M @ 8 … that way Leafs can have him for 10 more years (finishing that at 31) …$122M or $12.2 per for 10… than the LT deal now: $11 * 8 now … $88M … with him demanding 8 more years as a 29 year old … at the rate that revs likely to increase … top players may be in line for $16 M per 9 years from now… ie he’d be requesting 8* 16 then… the bridge then 8 above gets him to 31 for $122 M … the 8 then 8 plan gets him to 31 for $120M ($2M savings) but now locked for a few more years to late 30’s at $16M/year

        All guess and conjecture but I’m still hoping for bridge then 8 ( for all 3 of them )

    • So scenario is: 4 first round picks from Arizona + avoiding a dud $14M contract + still having a 1-2 punch in Tavares/Kadri. It would not be the end of the world at all for TOR. It’s a Plan B. It’s retooling basically. If history is any lesson, those ARZ picks could be rather good.

  7. I hate the LEAFS……….

    • So?

    • Now THAT was funny…

    • Went to a Buffalo Bisons game in August, saw a woman wearing a T-shirt that said, “My two favourite teams are Buffalo and any team that beats Toronto.” Broke me up. And, btw, I’m looking forward to seeing the Leafs play the Sabres this year. Should be fun – lots of T-shirts.

  8. “I hate the Leafs”? What is going on in that person’s mind that he only has that to tell us…..what are we going to offer, therapy? Two things: Gardiner does go after this year, whatever he thinks he is worth…two, Trade Nylander asap, avoid distraction, if (big if here) you can get a really good young d-man for him, which, I don’t see occurring. Nylander has skill, but he is also happy to be a perimeter player, does not have the skill in tight as a Marner and while he does have a shot, he will need to play with someone who can muscle the puck to him: he won’t/cannot do that for himself.

    • I’m with you on that one. But for me it comes down to your core. I don’t think Nylander fits into that right now and that makes him expendable when he becomes too expensive. It’s the same thing the Pens have been doing for years. Pay for your core guys and move the expensive non-core ones. Fill the gaps with promising or serviceable kids (helps when your AHL team’s system is similar to the big club for a seamless transition) or vets coming off down years who are coming cheap because of it or looking for a 1 year cheapo deal to make a run. Gardner falls into the same category. If he is too expensive next year, move him because clearly Reilly is your keeper on the back end.

    • Jon McGill and AJ re Nylander and Gardner

      I’m all for what’s best for leafs down the road and not just in the immediate time-frame.

      Bridge or trade WW (for upgrade in D) is my preference

      Can’t see likely trade right now … it would have to be something really out of left field like (as Ducks are loaded in RD)…, WW and Gardner for Ritchie and Montour.

      Swap of young RFA forwards is skewed advantage to Ducks.., and they have just lost Perry. The offset of that advantage is sending a D in Gardner that is currently better than Montour but older and UFA come next July. Might have to have balancing/sundry picks to even out

      This is so out there but an example of how crazy and unbelievable (multi-player with probably picks) a deal would have to be to actually move WW now for the betterment of both teams.

      I believe there was a window of opportunity for a trade at the beginning of July but not now

    • Well said.

      The bigger issue for me is most certainly Nylander knows what the Leafs are trying to build here, all through the Taveras signing I heard Marner, Mathews and even Marleau talking with him and just generally being ‘involved’ in the signing but virtually nothing about Nylander.

      Then he is a no show for the charity golf tournament with his teammates, sorry but he has had the summer off, the least he could do was be part of the team and make an appearance.

      I don’t know guys, yes I love his talent but I don’t like how this looks and it looks like Willy is far more concerned about himself first then the team.
      While there should be an element of truth to that for every player the fact remains is making $6.75 million a year instead of $8 million or to be fair $7.25 million really going to matter in the long term.

      • “… it looks like Willy is far more concerned about himself first then the team …” That could describe Karlsson to a T. But in the end aren’t the vast majority of pro athlete mercenaries first and team-oriented a distant second?

      • What do you mean overpayment doesn’t matter? A million overpayment each on WN, MM, AM and Gardiner pretty much equals Kadri salary. Then when TOR will exist near the cap ceiling, he would probably have to be subtracted from the team as players are signed to somewhat inflated contracts. If getting them signed for more moderate levels, that could mean the team can afford another impact player which could be the difference in todays NHL. Ask Peter Chiarelli about overpaying the wrong players. It’s not that we don’t like Lucic, Draisaitl, Eberle and so on, we just don’t like them at the numbers they’re currently at.

  9. Lyle….can you help …..when does the pre-Christmas temporary trade freeze start and end….thanks in advance

    • Usually starts December 18 at 11:59 p.m. and ends December 27 at 12:01 a.m.

      • thanks George….while I am here….outsiders opinion….

        Ottawa should continue the rebuild..they might catch lightning in a bottle and the owner seems unable or unwilling to pay or overpay the stars…as a Leaf fan I love beating the Sens team ….but do not want see the franchise itself beaten to death

      • I agree totally. And hey, I can understand that Leafs fan perspective – hell, when they play in Ottawa it’s one time they get close to a full house (them and the Habs who also still have a LOT of fans in the area). It’s when the Arizonas and Carolinas of the world come in that attendance REALLY sags.

  10. Nice job fellas.
    You’ve managed to chase off Striker.
    This is why we can’t have nice things.

    • Such as?

      • Nothing specific, but I’m sure this is why.
        Or the Leaf faithful…..

    • “Chase off Striker”

      Ive read Lyles site for years now & Striker is terrified of his own shadow.

      He spouts off re: all of these pools he enters but no one has ever replied.
      Hes craving attention/affection.
      His wife stopped caring about his “400 games this & that, long ago”.

      • Someone who never posts talking about being a scart. Mmmnnnn.

    • As I said. Totally lame-o.

  11. Marner making as much as Kane at $10M+ while RFA for another 5 years? How the hell can anyone take that assessment from Ken Campbell seriously…? Dubas would never allocate that kind of dollars like that. He will probably sign his young core guys in the proper order, thus Marner won’t have Matthews as comparable when he signs.

    • What exactly has dubas done to know he wouldn’t ? His ahl resume ? Or ohl ? Different animals , he was willing to shell out 11 million for a 2C role and nylander is on track to miss the start of the season without a contract ? For a guy who has done nothing at the nhl level he sure gets a lot of credit compared to his resume . A few years ago Lou was the godfather and hunter best talent evaluator / scout in the business . They have moved on so I guess dubas assumes all the credit , he was just behind the scenes pulling all the strings … lol the nation

      • I don’t really know where Dubas is supposedly getting credit from? It’s not a Dubas thing. Easily close to 100% of NHL GMs wouldn’t shell out $10M+ RFA money for a winger who hasn’t won anything yet. Marner has individual trophies from Junior and led the senior team for points last year. That’s pretty much it, up to this point. That is far from those salary levels and every GM knows it. Apparently Ken Campbell doesn’t…

  12. I read this site daily but only post when something interesting is being discussed. Not sure what all the chatter about Striker is about but I enjoy reading his insights. Do I agree with everything thing he says nope but I respect his opinion the same as everybody else. Each one one us are arm chair GM,S and nothing more don’t let your feelings be hurt or take these posts so serious. I’ve posted my opinions and truthfully I would hope everyone would agree with them buts that’s unrealistic and not once have I gone to bed and not been able to sleep because of this site lol. Striker if your out there I appreciate your opinion and Go Bruins Go.

    • Well said Obe! I’ve been creeping on this site for probably ten years and I value Striker’s posts a lot more than his opponents, most of whom offer very little other than snotty sarcasm. While i don’t always agree with him his opinions are usually well thought out and he does his best to qualify those opinions with facts. I don’t think a person should still have to post “IMHO” constantly when he’s been posting on a sight forever. I think some people don’t like him for that reason as he comes off a little sure of himself. That doesn’t threaten me as long as he’s not rude about it. Which he isn’t. If your so offended by someone who has confidence in their own opinion maybe the internet is not the place for you…

      • I second that.