Bruins’ East competition getting stiffer Subban, Marleau trades

Matt Kalman
June 22, 2019 - 1:20 pm

After a quiet first night of the 2019 NHL Draft on Friday, the second day heated up before any picks were even made, and two big moves could impact the Bruins’ future dominance of the Eastern Conference.

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First the Toronto Maple Leafs were able to dump the $6.25 million cap hit of 39-year-old Patrick Marleau on the Carolina Hurricanes, who got a first-round pick in 2020 (unless it’s in the top 10, which would shift this pick to 2021) as a sweetener.

It doesn’t appear Marleau will be in Raleigh long because the Hurricanes are expected to buy him out, absorbing all of his $6.25 million cap hit for 2019-20 because he signed an over-35 contact with the Maple Leafs back in July 2017. Not sure the Hurricanes got enough to sweeten this deal with that type of cap hit for a player that’s probably going to be skating for San Jose.

But the Maple Leafs accomplished one of their major goals of the offseason by clearing some of the cap space to get deals done with restricted free agents Mitch Marner, Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen. This means as far as the Maple Leafs’ challenge to the Bruins, it appears Toronto will be able to retain all of their high-end skilled forwards. But, of course, it looks like they’re losing Jake Gardiner and Ron Hainsey and haven’t done anything to improve their defense.

The second big deal brought one of Boston’s biggest rivals back to the Eastern Conference with Nashville sending defenseman P.K. Subban to New Jersey for Steve Santini, prospect Jeremy Davis and a second round pick in each 2019 and 2020.

The Devils were willing to absorb all of Subban’s $9 million cap hit for the next three seasons, so they were able to give the Predators a fair package but not sell the farm. With Subban in the fold in addition to No. 1 overall pick Jack Hughes, the Devils should be better in 2019-20 and also might have a better shot at getting forward Taylor Hall signed to an extension. The 2018 Hart Trophy winner is entering the last year of his seven-year deal with an annual cap hit of $6 million.


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