Cap comparables: Mitch Marner contract resets the RFA market

September 14, 2019

The wait is over.

And maybe now the dam will break on the RFA market.

On Friday evening, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Mitch Marner put pen to paper on a new six-year, $65.358 million deal. For those counting (and I know you all are), that’s a $10.893 million cap hit.

Between Auston Matthews ($11.634 million), John Tavares ($11 million) and now Marner, the Maple Leafs hold three of the four most expensive cap hits in the NHL. Add in William Nylander’s $6.962 million from his prolonged negotiation that came right down to the Dec. 1 deadline last season and those four players will now account for a combined $40.489 million against an $81.5 million cap.

I’m exactly where I want to be, in front of the greatest hockey fans in the world, proudly continuing the tradition with the @MapleLeafs. See you soon.

— Mitchell Marner (@Marner93) September 14, 2019

It’s worth noting that with a new U.S. TV deal on the horizon in two years and revenues on the way from a 32nd franchise that will land in Seattle for the 2021-22 season, it can reasonably be expected the cap will increase before long. But for now, the Leafs will have to walk a tight rope because Marner’s contract sets a new precedent for RFAs — especially those coming off an entry-level contract.

Marner instantly becomes the second-highest paid winger in the NHL, behind only Artemi Panarin who counts for $11.643 million against the New York Rangers’ cap from a deal he signed this summer as the most sought-after UFA on the market. But as we know, with a cap that has risen many times over the years, the percentage of an AAV at the time of signing is the best way …read more


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