If the Leafs can't bring back Bertuzzi, there's an even better plan B available

Dean Chaudhry
June 15, 2024  (7:28 PM)

Jonathan Marchessault accepting his Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2023.
Photo credit: Lucas Peltier - USA Today Sports

Should Tyler Bertuzzi price himself out of Toronto, the Maple Leafs should pivot their attention to former playoff MVP Jonathan Marchessault this summer.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a lot of fish to fry this summer but at the very least they will have just a shade under 20 million dollars to work with and most of their core set in place. Players like Max Domi and Bertuzzi are going to be on the forefront for Brad Treliving and company, however should they price themselves out with the increasing cap space, the Maple Leafs have a few options to pivot towards on the open market.
While the Maple Leafs have money to work with this summer, the same can't be said about the Vegas Golden Knights. According to CapFriendly, the Knights have just $1.197 million in projected cap space and have players like Chandler Stephenson, Alec Martinez, and Marchessault among others who are due for new contracts. They usually find a way to get their preferred deals done but after extending Noah Hanifin and taking on the remaining 6 years of Tomas Hertl, it may seem like their luck might run out this year.
Marchessault has been nothing short of fantastic for the Golden Knights as he has amassed 192 goals and 417 points in 514 games played across 7 seasons. He scored a career-high 42 goals this past season to go along with 69 points in a full 82-game campaign. He's been even better in the post-season, where he's tallied 36 goals and 75 points in 95 games, including 13 goals and 25 points during their Stanley Cup run in 2023 - where he was named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
The 33-year-old is expected to be a popular name should he hit the open market and his value can range from anywhere between 6.5-7.5 million per season depending on how many teams will be entering the bidding war. He's as clutch as they come, severely underrated for a 40-goal scorer, and would provide a spark for anyone's top-6 for the next 3-4 years.
Bertuzzi struggled in his first season with Maple Leafs as he registered 21 goals and 43 points in 80 games - Marchessault scored 1 less goal than Bertuzzi's point totals. Sheldon Keefe at times had to juggle him around the lineup to find the right fit but it didn't come easy. If Bertuzzi is looking for anything north of 5 million dollars, the Maple Leafs need to pass and look for a more cost effective player.
Marchessault is definitely a step up from Bertuzzi and he has shown a proclivity to score goals and produce in clutch moments all throughout his career. He may be 5 years older than Bertuzzi and he will likely come in at a similar AAV but it's a much better investment, in my opinion.
The Maple Leafs should assuredly enter the bidding war and actually try to win it for once to solidify their offense heading into the 2024-25 season.
Source for the Golden Knights salary information:
Source for the Maple Leafs salary information:
Source for Jonathan Marchessault's stats:
Jonathan Marchessault
15 JUIN   |   242 ANSWERS
If the Leafs can't bring back Bertuzzi, there's an even better plan B available

Should the Maple Leafs forget about Bertuzzi and pivot towards Marchessault?

Yes, he's far more productive7531 %
No, he'll be 34 in December5623.1 %
Only if Bertuzzi prices himself out of Toronto11145.9 %
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