The Toronto Maple Leafs are in need of making some cap space and it appears that Patrick Marleau is closer to giving them that.
Talks between the Leafs and the LA Kings have reportedly already taken place, with the Western Conference team gauging what kind of return general manager Kyle Dubas would expect for the 39-year-old.
It now appears that talks of a potential trade are starting to heat up, with other teams interested in acquiring the last year of Marleau’s contract.
According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, the Arizona Coyotes are a team that is exploring the possibility of trading for Marleau.
It’s believed that Marleau’s preferred destination would land him close to his family’s home in San Jose, with LA and Arizona being two of the closest teams.
The Colorado Avalanche have also been previously mentioned as a team interested in Marleau, but it’s more than likely that the 21-year veteran, who has a full No Move Clause, would be more interested in a place such as LA.
Marleau’s connection to LA’s new head coach Todd McLellan makes them an obvious choice, while the Coyotes’ stronger cap situation definitely makes them a player, though the Leafs may be expected to retain something on Marleau’s deal to help push anything through.
The Saskatchewan native has been a great soldier for the Leafs over the past two seasons, scoring 43 goals and 84 total points in 164 regular season games – being an excellent mentor for the likes of Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews during his tenure.
Unfortunately, Marleau isn’t the player he was two years ago and his $6.25 million contract is too expensive for the Leafs – who have three important free agents that require new deals this summer.
Seeing Marleau leave Toronto will be sad for many, but the business side of the game is unrelenting and if the team hopes to compete for the Stanley Cup for the foreseeable future, then it’s their top young guys that need to be retained.
What do you think Leafs Nation? Do you think a deal for Marleau gets done this off-season? What kind of return do you think the team could get for him? Where do you see him ending up? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!