Mitch Marner apparently declined an offer that would've made him one of the highest-paid players in the NHL.
The Toronto Maple Leafs offered the restricted free-agent winger contracts of seven and eight years with a cap hit of $11 million in June, according to TSN's Darren Dreger. The average annual value would've tied Marner with Drew Doughty and teammate John Tavares as the fourth-highest paid player in the league.
The offer was not deemed palatable to Marner's camp due to the longer term and the AAV being lower than teammate Auston Matthews, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie. Matthews inked a five-year extension with an $11.634 million AAV in February.
The $11-million offer to Marner also included performance bonuses that the club wouldn't pay during his entry-level contract, according to Dreger.
The Leafs have no incentive to do a three-year bridge deal, since it would still cost around $10 million per season, McKenzie added. This would be problematic for Toronto as Marner could then accept a hefty qualifying offer and walk into unrestricted free agency after the fourth year.
San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier, one of the few premium RFAs to get a deal done, signed a similar contract earlier this offseason. He inked a four-year, $24-million backloaded deal to assure he gets a $10-million qualifying offer in his final year of restricted free agency.
The Leafs currently have a projected cap hit of $85.35 million - nearly $4 million above the cap ceiling, according to CapFriendly. However, the dead contracts of David Clarkson and Nathan Horton (combined $10.5M AAV) are projected to hit long-term injured reserve, and Zach Hyman and Travis Dermott (combined $3.13M AAV) could join them on LTIR to begin the season.
The Leafs can also option a couple of players to the minors to create additional cap space.
Marner finished 11th in league scoring in 2018-19 with 94 points.