The Colorado Avalanche are rumored to be in the running to trade for aging forward Patrick Marleau. What might the team really want from Toronto?
When I first read that rumor on Twitter, my initial reaction was “What the what?” Patrick Marleau is a 39-year-old center whose best years are behind him. His career year was 86 points, granted, but that was 2005-06 — you know, when our superstar, Nathan MacKinnon, was 10 years old.
However, it sounds like Marleau is already on the move. He’s moving his family back to San Jose, where he played all of his career before the last two. That in itself isn’t so surprising since players scatter to the four directions as soon as their season ends — and many return to former hockey homes.
That said, Pierre LeBrun is reporting that the Leafs and Marleau are looking to part ways, and that the LA Kings are a prime landing spot. But Kypreos is reporting that Arizona and Colorado are also in the mix.
Patrick Marleau is 39 years old, and while the Avalanche aren’t as committed to youth as they were in the 2017-18 season, I can’t imagine why they’d be interested in acquiring a 39-year-old.
Unless that acquisition was to sweeten the pot of a bigger trade. Marleau is in the final year of a three-year contract with an annual cap hit of $6.25 million. The Leafs are cozying up to the ceiling, and they’ve got some noteworthy free agents to sign, most notably Mitch Marner.
So, if the Colorado Avalanche were looking to trade for Marleau, it would likely be as cap relief for the Leafs so they could acquire the player they really wanted — a Brooks Orpik situation, in other words.
Who would that player be? Wow, we’d all love for it to be Matthews, but we know it’s not. We’d give up a lot for it to be William Nylander, but we know it’s not him either.
Could it be defenseman Morgan Reilly? I feel like, of all the positions, Colorado is best set at defense. Sure, Reilly had a killer, 72-point year, but/so I can’t imagine Toronto wanting to part with him.
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Might the Colorado Avalanche have pending RFA Kasperi Kapanen in sight? The 22-year-old right wing had a 20-goal, 44-point year, and he’s more in keeping with Colorado’s ideal.
Could they be looking even younger, say at defensemen Timothy Liljegren (20) or defenseman Rasmus Sandin (19)?
Ok, so let’s say the Colorado Avalanche are looking to trade for Marleau. What would they have to give up? That one’s probably pretty easy — Colorado’s 16th-overall. Toronto has no first rounder this year because they traded it to the LA Kings (along with Carl Grundstrom and Sean Durzi’s signing rights) for Jake Muzzin.
I don’t think the Avalanche would love giving up that pick, but they do have the fourth-overall. And they’d have to be getting back a player they really wanted. Otherwise, they might give up a later pick — they have two third-rounders, too, thanks to Ottawa — for a player they pretty much want. Like I said, the Brooks Orpik situation.
If the Avalanche did trade for Marleau, he would never play for the team. Certainly Colorado would buy out his contract. Granted, because his is a 35+ contract they’d receive no cap relief, but they don’t really need any. The cap hit would be on their record for only the 2019-20 season, and even with some of the big contracts the Avs need to get done this offseason, they’d have the space.
So, Avs Nation, what do you think of the team acquiring aging veteran Patrick Marleau? Who are they really trying to get, and what will it cost them beyond his cap hit for a year?