By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The headlining act in NHL free agency this summer is an absurdly deep restricted free agent class. Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy is part of that. But perhaps the biggest name among all RFAs is Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner.
So it should come as no surprise that there would be other teams checking in on potentially signing Marner to an offer sheet. That's what TSN's Darren Dreger is reporting on Wednesday. Dreger says "multiple teams have reached out" as the interview period opens for free agents.
It's not news that teams would be interested in Marner, who scored 94 points last season as a 21-year-old. He's establishing himself as one of the premier players in the league, and had the Leafs beaten the Bruins in the first round of the 2019 playoffs, he would have been a major reason why.
The intriguing part of this whole thing is that teams apparently feel it's even possible to lure Marner away from Toronto. He grew up less than 20 miles away in Markham, Ontario. And the Leafs, despite their own cap concerns, have little excuse to find a way to lock up their hometown superstar long-term. If Marner switches teams, it would be a seismic move that directly affects the Bruins and transforms the Atlantic Division.
The fact that it's even gotten to this point with Marner is indicative that the Leafs' cap management could've been better. And I cover the Bruins. I know questionable cap management when I see it.
It's incredible that this is even a topic. Could Marner actually sign an offer sheet elsewhere? Would the Leafs decline to match it and take four (!!!) first-round picks from his new team? Would a team convince the Leafs to work out a massive trade to avoid an offer sheet in the first place?
Can't blame teams for trying. Marner just might be worth the price.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].