Leafs GM Kyle Dubas wouldn't automatically match Mitch Marner offer sheet

Arun Srinivasan
·Writer
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas has some tough decisions ahead, especially when it comes to Mitch Marner. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas has some tough decisions ahead, especially when it comes to Mitch Marner. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Ahead of what promises to be the most difficult season of his career, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas hinted at what the club’s responses might be to their most pressing questions.

Re-signing star winger Mitch Marner is priority No. 1 for Dubas and his staff but it would come at a cost. Marner is looking for a lucrative, long-term contract and could be presented with an offer sheet from a rival team.

Dubas made it clear that the Leafs weren’t going to match any offer for the 22-year-old without consideration, and said they would have to weigh the return — in all likelihood, four first-round picks — if another club tried to poach Marner.

Marner posted a career-best year during the 2018-19 season, scoring 26 goals and 94 points while forming a potent one-two combination alongside John Tavares. He’s now led the Maple Leafs in scoring for the past two seasons and wants to be paid accordingly, even if parts of the fan base are weary.

It was reported that Patrick Marleau wants to return to San Jose to ostensibly end his career with the Sharks, but he still has one year left on his contract and Dubas wouldn’t concede the veteran forward just yet.

Dubas could be on the phone for several reasons over the next few days, Marleau aside. It was reported that the Leafs are entertaining offers for Kasperi Kapanen and Nazem Kadri, with Connor Brown potentially on the block as well.

The Leafs reportedly spoke to the Carolina Hurricanes about a deal involving defenceman Brett Pesce, who would shore up Toronto’s inconsistent corps, in exchange for Kapanen and Brown, but nothing came to fruition.

There’s no doubt Dubas has plenty of big decisions ahead. Marner, and the rest of the Leafs’ young core, demands and deserves to get paid handsomely. However, there’s only a finite amount of cap space. Meanwhile, the team’s back end needs an upgrade if they hope to contend next season.

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