by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post
Arguably the biggest restricted free agent still on the market remains unsigned, yet the Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup in 2020.
The Maple Leafs are currently the +900 second choice (bet $100 to win $900) on the 2020 Stanley Cup odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com behind only the Tampa Bay Lightning (+750), even though 22-year-old center Mitch Marner has reportedly talked about playing for the ZSC Lions of the NLA in Switzerland if he cannot reach an agreement in the NHL.
Marner is in line for a huge payday somewhere, and he is hoping that it will be in Toronto. The Maple Leafs drafted him fourth overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, and he produced a career-best 94 points (26 goals and 68 assists) for them last season. The problem is, they are loaded with young talent and just gave 21-year-old center Auston Matthews a five-year contract extension worth more than $58 million after inking Toronto native John Tavares to a seven-year, $77 million deal last summer as the top free agent. Tavares is also center, but both he and Matthews finished behind Marner in scoring.
The Lightning won the Presidents’ Trophy by finishing last season with the league’s best record before fizzling out in the first round of the playoffs like the Maple Leafs, and they too have a top restricted free agent that is unsigned in Brayden Point. Tampa Bay saw Point break out with a career-high 92 points (41 goals and 51 assists) during the 2018-19 campaign, and the team would be hard-pressed to replace that kind of production.
Other big name restricted free agents waiting to sign with their current teams include Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor of the Winnipeg Jets, Mikko Rantanen of the Colorado Avalanche, Charlie McAvoy of the Boston Bruins, Zach Werenski of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames and Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks. The Jets have already lost some key players and cannot afford to be without either Connor or Laine, who ranked third and fourth on the team in scoring, respectively.
Winnipeg is listed at +2400 to win the Stanley Cup at sports betting sites while Boston (+1100) and Colorado (+1200) have more depth and could probably overcome losing Rantanen or McAvoy. But Calgary is +2000 on those NHL odds and could take a big step back without Tkachuk, who totaled 77 points (34 goals and 43 assists) in his third year after being picked sixth overall in 2016.