If the time comes, the Rangers should offer-sheet Mitch Marner

Restricted free agents have become something of a huge conversation in the NHL as of late.

The William Nylander saga that occurred for nearly half the season in Toronto really started making people scratch their heads about a lot of things in regards to RFAs, and on a different note, the Toronto Maple Leafs salary cap. When a player is an RFA, his rights are to the team that he is on. It varies when a player’s RFA status is up. As we saw with Nylander, nobody was allowed to touch him, being that his contract rights were with Toronto. The saga finally ended when he got the big bucks and joined the high-powered Leafs.

What was interesting was that people were constantly talking about other teams offer-sheeting Nylander to either jack up the price, or get a young star added to your team. But, as the “old boy’s club” goes, no offer-sheet was put in for the young Swedish star. It will be interesting, however, to see how things go in the coming months with Toronto’s two best players Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, who will become RFA’s come July 1 when each of their entry-level contracts is completed. Matthews, the American phenom, will, in my belief, get a contract within the next month, a contract that will make him the highest paid player in NHL history, because I do think that GM Kyle Dubas fears a possible offer-sheet. That leaves the young Canadian star Mitch Marner. Marner has already said he does not want to discuss a new contract until after the season, so let’s take a look at what could go down.

In a recent report, GMs apparently told Dubas they would be offer-sheeting players, in particular, Marner, if he got to July 1 without a contract. So the question looms: should Jeff Gorton offer-sheet Marner if he isn’t signed before the July 1 deadline?

Before I dive into this, I want it to be known that Mitch Marner is my favorite player in the NHL, and believe he is the best player on that Maple Leafs team. With that being said, what would happen if the Rangers offer-sheeted Marner? In the event of an offer-sheet, a team can put in an offer to an RFA, and the team that holds the player’s contract rights has a chance to match it. If the player’s current team matches it, he’d stay with his current team, but if they don’t match it, he walks, and for a heavy price.

If the Rangers were to offer-sheet Marner, it would have to be for the eight-year max. That contract would carry an AAV of, what I presume, to be somewhere in the $11M range. So, let’s just say the Rangers offer-sheeted Marner an eight-year deal for $88M. Marner would no doubt bring an element to this team that hasn’t been seen before. He is a dynamic player with a tremendous amount of skill and is on pace for over 110 points this season. Not to mention he is only 21-years-old. Marner would anchor this rebuild and be the best player on it for the next decade or more, but at what cost?

The chances of Marner and the Maple Leafs hitting the aforementioned July 1 deadline without a deal in place is about as likely as an apple tasting like an orange. But, should things shake out differently, the Rangers should go after the young phenom.

Editor’s Note: The max years the Rangers can offer an RFA is 7 years. The author was incorrect to state 8 and the assistant Editor missed it too. I am sorry for that. On another note, the “heavy price” includes the 1st round picks. – Anthony

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