The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reported that the Arizona Coyotes and the Toronto Maple Leafs may be discussing a deal that would send Patrick Marleau and an asset to Arizona. Marleau has a workable contract that the Leafs want to rid themselves of. Doing so would free up $6.25 million in cap space for Toronto, something they’ll definitely need heading into the off-season. The Coyotes have taken over other poor contracts in the past.
Leafs and Coyotes have also chatted about Patrick Marleau. My sense is that for Arizona to get more interested Toronto would have to attach a premium asset in the trade as well.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 2, 2019
Leafs Patrick Marleau and Andreas Johnsson to the Coyotes
Both Teams Can Get What They Want
Marleau has a $3 million bonus due after July 1st. That would mean the Coyotes would only have to pay Marleau $1.25 million for his work next season, although he would remain a $6.25 million cap hit. The other factor is the Coyotes would be doing the Leafs a huge favor. The Leafs need extra cap space to sign Mitch Marner to the contract he is supposedly demanding.
In return, the Coyotes will want something like restricted free agent Andreas Johnsson who signed a one-year $787,500 contract last summer. The 24-year-old left winger collected 20 goals, 23 assists in 73 games this past season. The Coyotes lack of offense last season hurt them dearly, and Johnsson would likely make a huge impact.
Who Would the Maple Leafs Get Back
This deal scenario would still need to resolve who is coming back to the Maple Leafs. The Coyotes were rumoured to have offered Christian Fischer to the Minnesota Wild earlier in the spring, in a deal to bring Jason Zucker to the desert. With that in mind, it would be no surprise to see Arizona also offer up Fischer in the deal with Toronto.
The Coyotes also has a young Russian defenceman by the name of Ilya Lyubushkin who could fill a spot which may be vacated if the Leafs trade away Nikita Zaitsev. Lyubushkin is a restricted free agent with a $1.355 AAV cap hit this past season. He is not an offensive weapon at all, though, and didn’t even score a goal this past season. He had four assists but get this… he averaged 3.66 hits a game and blocked 61 shots in the 41 games he played. If the Leafs want a good stay-at-home D-man who can take the body and defend well, he may just be what they need.
The Coyotes have $8.62 million in cap space and are not planning on renewing Richard Panik‘s contract, leaving a spot for Marleau who can play both left wing and centre.
Leafs Patrick Marleau Adds Experience to a Young Team
Marleau is no youngster and will be 40-years-old in September. He tallied 16 goals and 21 assists last season. The big statistic, which may attract Coyotes general manager John Chayka the most, is Marleau is an ironman. He has not missed a game since the 2008-09 season and for an injury-prone team like the Coyotes that is something short of amazing. The team this last season lost a record amount of games due to injuries and it pretty much determined their fate to miss the playoffs by a mere four points.
Marleau’s leadership ability would definitely be another asset which can help a young team in those moments where a guy like him can give some guidance to younger players. He’s been to the playoffs participating in 191 games with an impressive 127 points to show for it. If the Coyotes feel (and they do) that the playoffs are in their reach next season, Marleau could be the missing ingredient they need to overcome their lack of success to even get to the postseason.
Andreas Johnsson Has Plenty of Potential
At just 24-years-old Johnsson can put the puck in the net and the Coyotes lacked that quite a bit last season. They failed for the first time in franchise history to have at least one 20-goal scorer on the team. Johnsson tallied 20 goals and 23 assists in 73 games including three power-play goals and three game-winning tallies. That’s the kind of clutch scoring the Yotes could use if they wish to be playoff bound next season.