Agent: Marner declined 2 offer sheets, wanted to be a Leaf

Mitch Marner's heart was always in Toronto.

According to his agent, the Markham, Ontario, native received a pair of offer sheets while he was a restricted free agent this summer, but declined both in hopes of staying with his hometown Maple Leafs, with whom he signed last week.

"There were two (offer sheets) presented to him in the summer," Darren Ferris told TSN 1050's Michael Landsberg and Carlo Colaiacovo on "First Up" on Monday morning. "Two opportunities, which he declined. He told me 'Darren, I don't want to sign. I want to be a Leaf.' So we declined both those opportunities."

Marner echoed Ferris' comments.

"As soon as Darren mentioned (offer sheets), I told him right away I don't want to explore that option," the forward told TSN's Kristen Shilton. "But I didn't want to miss training camp ... or any games this season, so that's why I really forced the issue with (general manager Kyle Dubas) to get something done and get me here."

The details of the offer sheets are unknown, but Dubas was aware of at least one of them. Ferris also suggested that there would have been more on the way.

"The team had actually told (Dubas) that they had made the overture to Mitch," Ferris said. "There was a very, very strong likelihood there were more being represented once the season started as you know, the cap number gets set and makes it more difficult for a team to match.

"His goal always was to be Leaf and that was the conclusion. The Leaf organization worked hard, especially Kyle working tireless hours. He and I going back and fourth, ups and downs of normal negotiations, finally got the deal done in a timely fashion that he could get to camp, and that's what Mitch wanted."

Had Marner signed an offer sheet, it would've been the second in the NHL this summer after nearly six years without one. Hurricanes star Sebastian Aho signed a five-year offer sheet worth $8.454 million per year with the Montreal Canadiens on July 1, but Carolina wasted no time matching it.

Marner and the Leafs signed a six-year contract with an average annual value of $10.893 million on Friday. Ferris revealed that the final two digits of the AAV were a tribute to Leafs legend Doug Gilmour, who wore No. 93 during his days in Toronto. During his junior career with the London Knights, Marner also wore No. 93.

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Flames sign Mangiapane to 1-year deal worth $715K

The Calgary Flames have inked restricted free-agent forward Andrew Mangiapane to a one-year, two-way contract worth $715,000, the club announced Sunday.

After a lengthy impasse, the 23-year-old settled for the original qualifying offer the Flames submitted in June. He will remain a restricted free agent when his deal expires.

Mangiapane, a sixth-round pick of the Flames in 2015, tallied eight goals and 13 points in 44 games in 2018-19.

Calgary now holds $6.34 million in projected cap space with restricted free agent Matthew Tkachuk the only remaining player in need of a new deal, according to CapFriendly.

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Babcock thinks Hyman, Dermott will miss nearly 1st month of season

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock told reporters he believes forward Zach Hyman will miss 14-to-15 games to start the season after offseason knee surgery, according to TSN.

Babcock also added that he thinks Travis Dermott will miss 12-to-14 games to begin the year, according to TSN's Kristen Shilton. The defenseman underwent shoulder surgery on May 10.

Hyman suffered a torn ACL in the club's first-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins. He played through the injury for three games. The 27-year-old was given a six-month recovery period after undergoing surgery on April 29.

Speedster Kasperi Kapanen has been practicing in Hyman's place at left wing on a line with John Tavares at center and Mitch Marner at right wing. Kapanen said he's ready to fill the workhorse void left by Hyman.

"I'll let them do all the nice things and I'll do the dirty work," Kapanen said.

Kapanen, Tavares, and Marner spent just over six minutes together at five-on-five a year ago, but the results were impressive in the short sample size. The trio outscored the opposition 3-1 and held a 12-8 shot-attempt advantage, according to Natural Stat Trick.

Kapanen, a natural right winger, will be playing out of position. The 23-year-old set career-highs with 20 goals and 24 assists a year ago.

Meanwhile, a glut of defensemen, including veterans Ben Harpur, Jordan Schmaltz, Martin Marincin, Kevin Gravel, and Justin Holl, and youngsters Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren, will jostle for minutes in Dermott's absence.

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Fantasy: 4 goalies who could become studs

Among all the positions in hockey, there's no question goaltenders take the longest to realize their potential. With so much uncertainty in the crease, it can be tricky to land two proven netminders come fantasy draft day.

Sometimes an increase in opportunity or a change of scenery is all a goalie needs. The following talents could be ready to take the next step in 2019-20 and deliver their best seasons yet.

Philipp Grubauer, Avalanche

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Grubauer looks to ride the momentum from last season's incredible playoff run into 2019-20. The 27-year-old proved he's capable of handling the starting role after stifling the top-seeded Calgary Flames in Round 1 and helping the Avalanche come one win shy of the Western Conference Final.

Sporting a 61-40-16 record, a 2.39 goals-against average, and a .921 save percentage for his career thus far, Grubauer has always posted quality numbers. But playing backup to star netminder Braden Holtby with the Washington Capitals denied the German netminder the opportunity to showcase his talent on a nightly basis.

Colorado looks poised to take a step forward in 2019-20, which should translate to a steady dose of wins as Grubauer projects for his largest workload yet.

Juuse Saros, Predators

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Saros enters the season after notching a career-high 17 wins in 27 starts for the Predators in 2018-19. His early-career numbers (38-24-12 record, 2.49 goals-against average, .920 save percentage, and seven shutouts in 79 NHL appearances) suggest the 24-year-old could be a starting goaltender at the NHL level - he's just been stuck playing behind 2018 Vezina Trophy winner Pekka Rinne.

The 5-foot-11 Saros should continue to carry more weight this year with Rinne turning 37 in November. The young Finn has seen his starts increase in each of the last three campaigns, while Rinne has seen a decrease over four straight. Expect that trend to continue as more teams adopt a platoon-style system between the pipes - especially after Nashville's disappointing first-round playoff exit last season.

Semyon Varlamov, Islanders

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The Islanders were one of the league's biggest surprises last season. Head coach Barry Trotz implemented a defensive system that allowed netminders Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss to flourish, and Varlamov looks to follow suit after a subpar 2018-19 campaign in Colorado.

Trotz's club allowed the fewest goals in the league and ranked first in shutouts last year. The Islanders' strong defense core remains intact for 2019-20 and should provide Varlamov with plenty of support.

Greiss and Lehner split time between the pipes last season, and though it's likely the Islanders will run a platoon system once again, the four-year, $20-million contract Varlamov inked with the team this summer suggests he'll receive a majority of the starts.

Elvis Merzlikins, Blue Jackets

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Merzlikins is a high-risk pick who could yield a big reward. The 25-year-old doesn't have a minute of NHL experience, but he's been projected as the Blue Jackets' goalie of the future ever since the club selected him in the third round of the 2014 NHL Draft.

The 6-foot-3 netminder posted a 2.78 goals-against average and .914 save percentage in five games for Latvia at the World Championships in May. Considering his limited experience competing against NHL talent, Merzlikins held his own playing behind a relatively weak roster.

Columbus head coach John Tortorella has made it clear that Joonas Korpisalo will assume starting duties to begin the season. But, as we're reminded every year, things can change quickly in the NHL. Any number of factors can combine to create opportunity for a young netminder, and we saw two rookie goalies burst onto the scene just last season in Carter Hart and Jordan Binnington.

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Bruins sign McAvoy to 3-year bridge deal with $4.9M AAV

The Boston Bruins have re-signed restricted free-agent defenseman Charlie McAvoy to a three-year contract with an average annual value of $4.9 million, the team announced Sunday.

McAvoy's new contract comes in just a hair shy of Zach Werenski's three-year, $15-million deal that the Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman signed Monday. Here are the full details:

McAvoy will have two more arbitration years after his new contract expires before hitting unrestricted free agency.

The 21-year-old tallied 28 points in 54 games last season while serving as half of Boston's shutdown pairing alongside veteran captain Zdeno Chara.

The Bruins now have $3.2 million left in projected cap space to sign their last RFA, defenseman Brandon Carlo, according to CapFriendly. Boston could create additional cap space by assigning players to the minors.

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