Will the Islanders pull trigger on Marner offer sheet?
All is quiet in NHL free agency and the Islanders haven’t done much to improve themselves. While they did re-sign three of their top four free agents (Eberle, Nelson, Lee) they lost Robin Lehner and Val Filppula to free agency and lost out on the Artemi Panarin sweepstakes to their arch-rival, the New York Rangers.
Now the Islanders sit in pretty much the exact same position they were in last season, only this time with Semyon Varlamov as the new goaltender in town. Varlamov was signed with the hopes that the Islanders can reel in former draft pick Ilya Sorokin from the KHL to become their goaltender of the future.
Regardless of what happens next season and beyond, the Islanders haven’t improved much in a division that has only gotten better. The Devils traded for P.K. Subban, the Rangers traded for Jacob Trouba and signed Panarin, and most other teams in the Metro have at least improved incrementally since the beginning of free agency.
Do all signs point to the Islanders tendering an offer sheet for Mitch Marner? The young, talented winger is one of the best players on a cap-strapped Toronto Maple Leafs team and apparently the two sides are far away on negotiations. What would it take to bring Marner over to the Island?
Well it’s a bit complicated. Although the Islanders have the resources, they’ll need to move some salary (most likely Nick Leddy’s) to have room for a potential $13M AAV Marner contract. In addition, they’ll need to shell out four first round draft picks and make sure that the offer sheet they present to Marner will be one that the Leafs don’t match.
The Montreal Canadiens tried to offer sheet Sebastian Aho with a front loaded tender offer, but the Carolina Hurricanes laughed at the offer sheet and toyed with Montreal for a few days before re-signing Aho. It was the first time the NHL has seen an offer sheet since Shea Weber was tendered by the Philadelphia Flyers, but this one wasn’t nearly as dramatic.
The Islanders need to do something before the season begins if they want to find themselves in the playoffs again. They have the systems in place, and plenty of talent but they’ll need some more high end talent in their forward group to take the next step. Without this offer sheet, the Islanders have very few options. Will it happen? Probably not, but it’s always good to have an open mind when it comes to this stuff.
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