NHL Trade Analysis: Patrick Marleau and J.T. Miller Traded in Salary Dumps
Patrick Marleau would be okay with a San Jose Sharks return, but they have bigger priorities at the moment. Carolina acquired the forward but will buy him out which opens up this possibility.
© Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

There were two moves to shed salary were completed on Saturday. The first was the Patrick Marleau trade from Toronto to Carolina. Then the next was the J.T. Miller trade from Tampa Bay to Vancouver. Let’s take a closer look.

Patrick Marleau traded to the Carolina Hurricanes

The Toronto Maple Leafs knew they had to find a taker for Patrick Marleau and his dead salary cap hit. Remember, Marleau signed a 35+ contract for three seasons. So, it was going to be a challenging contract to move.

Enter the Carolina Hurricanes. They pulled the trigger on the deal. The Toronto Maple Leafs sent Marleau to the Hurricanes for what amounts to the following.

The Toronto Maple Leafs moved Patrick Marleau to the Carolina Hurricanes along with a conditional first-round pick and a seventh-round pick for Carolina’s conditional sixth-round pick. In essence, the Hurricanes are receiving a 2020 first-round pick (or a 2021 one if the 2020 pick ends up in the top 10) for taking Marleau’s $6.25 million cap hit for one season.

Ah, the joys of lottery protected picks. Carolina gets a first-round pick either next year or the following season for taking on the contract. Toronto gets out from under the deal and opens up $6.25 million worth of cap space. Also, it is that cap space which allows them to sign some of their free agents and maybe take a run at Mitch Marner.

Carolina takes on the salary initially but then will buyout the Marleau contract. That does not absolve Carolina of the deal. However, in real cash dollars spent, it benefits the Hurricanes. Also, this paves the way for a potential Patrick Marleau return to the San Jose Sharks. That was not the only deal on what became known as “Dump Day Afternoon”.

J.T. Miller traded to the Vancouver Canucks

Maybe, this was the one that seemed to come from out of nowhere. Whereas the Patrick Marleau deal was inevitable, the Miller trade surprised more for the where and then the return.

The Tampa Bay Lightning traded J.T. Miller ($5.25 million hit for the next four seasons) to the Vancouver Canucks for a 2019 third-round pick, a conditional 2020 first-round pick and goaltender Marek Mazanec.

Again, there was zero salary retention in this deal. The difference is that Vancouver will keep Miller, who is a 50+ point player and can score 20+ goals. These are things that the Canucks sorely need.

Also, Miller racked up 20 points on the power-play last year. For a Vancouver team that was ice cold on the man advantage during the second half, this helps.

Miller playing on the second line and possibly first-unit man advantage is a plausible scenario. The former Tampa and New York winger should see 15+ minutes of ice time a night which was something he did not during his final season in Tampa Bay (14:40 ATOI).

The condition in the deal depends on Vancouver making the playoffs. If they do not, the 2020 first-rounder becomes a 2021 first-round choice.

Vancouver gains a player who can help them immediately while Tampa Bay climbs slowly out of their salary cap-induced hell. Between this and the Ryan Callahan LTIR designation, Tampa Bay gets closer to re-signing Brayden Point.