Rumour Report: Marner trade talk grows as offer sheet threat looms

The Leafs have mere weeks to get their house in order.

They don't want to do it, but the Leafs could very soon be put in an untenable cap situation that forces them to trade Mitch Marner.

Reports suggest the Marner camp plans on using a maximum pressure this strategy that involves meeting with teams once the RFA interview period begins in late June. Teams can then send Marner an offer sheet on July 1st. It's believed at least one team is preparing to send an offer sheet Marner's way.

Rumblings suggest the Leafs will have to be aggressive with their initial offers in order to keep Marner from doing a tour around the league to solicit potential offers. The Marner camp is believed to be seeking salary in the Matthews and Tavares range of 11 million a season. The Leafs would prefer to get Marner at a salary more in line with other top wingers in the 9 to 10 million range.

A gigantic offer sheet in the $12 million dollar range would be tough for the Leafs to swallow, despite the compensation of 4 first round draft picks that would be required. Of course, Marner would have to sign the offer sheet and the Leafs would have to decline to match. On the other hand, the Marner camp's leverage could be diminished if they don't garner as much interest around the league as they expect.

The Leafs would most likely match any offer sheet, but that could spell the end for other key Leafs RFA forwards such as Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen, or players like Nazem Kadri and Connor Brown.

Safe to say, there is tremendous pressure on GM Kyle Dubas to get this done in a timely fashion. To allow another team to wreak havoc on the Leafs salary structure would be nothing short of a disaster.

The NHL hasn't seen many offer sheets over the past few seasons. If there's ever going to be one, it's probably this summer. Other key RFAs such as Matthew Tkachuk, Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, Sebastian Aho and Mikko Rantanen (to name a few) could be targets as well.

Things are about to get pretty crazy around the league. Buckle up.

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