2. Mitch Marner
Sticking with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Mitch Marner is better than William Nylander. He, along with Nico Hischier and Patrice Bergeron, is a Selke Trophy candidate. On top of that, he is one of the best scoring wingers in hockey. The former fourth-overall pick had a career-high 99 points last season. Adding Marner would make the Devils a legit contender for an entire generation. He’s the perfect combination of age and need. He has the defensive responsibility required to excel in Lindy Ruff’s system, and he fills the need at winger to round out the top six.
Here’s the issue, Marner has a contract that would hurt the Devils. He’s making $10.9 million for the next two years. Then, he’s going to need another contract. Who knows what that one will look like when he finally hits 100 points.
Can the Devils afford his contract and still re-sign Timo Meier? It’s technically possible, but it comes at the cost of just about anyone else on this roster coming back. Maybe they can afford Erik Haula at like $2 million, but they can’t give a raise to Michael McLeod or Nathan Bastian. Signing UFAs is out of the question. It really hampers Tom Fitzgerald’s ability to make moves, especially during the NHL Trade Deadline.
Because of the contract situation, the Leafs would have trouble asking for more than Bratt for Marner. Bratt is a very good consolation prize if they truly want to make this kind of move as a reset.