Patrick Marleau, 2 Picks Traded to Hurricanes; Maple Leafs Get 6th-Round Pick

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2019

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 11:  Patrick Marleau #12 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on March 11, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Lightning defeated the Maple Leafs 6-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs traded Patrick Marleau to the Carolina Hurricanes in return for a 2020 sixth-round pick, the team announced Saturday.

The Hurricanes will also receive a conditional first-rounder in 2020 and a 2020 seventh-rounder. They outlined the Leafs' pick will convey in 2020 if it doesn't wind up in the top 10. Otherwise, Carolina will receive the selection in 2021 without any protections.

Marleau's wife Christina shared a statement from him on Twitter regarding his departure from Toronto:

Christina Marleau @c_marleau

Hi, Patrick here. I don’t have my own social media, so I wanted to come here and say a few words to @MapleLeafs, their fans and also to @Marner93 and @AM34 https://t.co/6Te4oePdLa

The move is largely about shedding Marleau's contract. The 39-year-old will count for $6.25 million against the salary cap in 2019-20.

The Canes, on the other hand, are in a great position to take on some money for next year in exchange for a first-round draft pick. After accounting for Marleau's deal, Carolina has a little over $21.5 million in salary cap space this offseason, per Cap Friendly.

Marleau appears likely to be on the move already. According to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston, he waived his no-movement clause in order to facilitate his trade to the Hurricanes, who will then likely buy him out of his contract. Johnston added Marleau's prefers a return to the San Jose Sharks, where he spent his first 19 seasons in the NHL.

The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun reported Thursday about Marleau's desire for a reunion:

Pierre LeBrun @PierreVLeBrun

It is beyond doubt that Patrick Marleau would covet a return to San Jose. And the Sharks may potentially have interest but they’ve got higher priority items to figure out now in trying to re-sign pending UFAs Pavelski, Thornton, plus RFA star Meier.... so on back burner for now

Echoing LeBrun, The Athletic's Kevin Kurz doubted whether signing the veteran forward will climb to the top of the Sharks' offseason to-do list:

Kevin Kurz @KKurzNHL

I understand why Marleau would want to come back to San Jose. But Wilson has so much on his plate right now, I can’t see him making any commitment until the dust settles with free agency https://t.co/47VDd2L7vM

Getting a first-rounder next year or the year after more than justifies this trade for Carolina, even if Marleau never plays a game for the team.

While the Maple Leafs now have $14 million in cap space, TSN 1050 Toronto's Bryan Hayes questioned the long-term consequences of the deal:

Bryan Hayes @HayesTSN

That’ll likely be two years in a row without a 1st round pick in Toronto. For a team that is going to need some cheap talent to contribute, Dubas and the scouts are going to have to seriously grind. And get lucky.

However, JD Bunkis of Sportsnet 590 The FAN reported restricted free agent Kasperi Kapanen was mentioned as a possible sweetener for the Leafs to include in order for a team to acquire Marleau.

Surrendering a first-rounder is a somewhat steep price, but Toronto seems to have avoided giving up a more valuable asset.