Hockey

Leafs GM calls Brad Marchand tweet 'master troll job' on team

Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas says Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand's tweet about Toronto forward Mitch Marner's next contract was "a master troll job."

Bruins’ pest stirred pot on Tuesday, suggesting Toronto pay star Mitch Marner $12M

Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas was at the NHL GM meetings on Wendesday in Florida, where he responded to a tweet from Bruins forward Brad Marchand, suggesting Toronto pay star forward Mitch Marner $12 million US annually on his next contract. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

​Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas says Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand's tweet about Toronto forward Mitch Marner's next contract was "a master troll job."

Marchand responded to a tweet from the NHL's public relations department on Tuesday that noted Marner's offensive output this season.

Marner, who had 81 points in 66 games this season heading into Wednesday's road tilt against the Vancouver Canucks, can become a restricted free agent on July 1 and will be looking for a significant raise when his entry-level deal expires.

Always one to stir the pot in hopes of getting under an opponent's skin, Marchand replied from his verified Twitter account, speculating how many millions of dollars the average annual value of Marner's new contract would be.

"Oh man, I think it was a master troll job, to say the least," Dubas said with a smile at the conclusion of the NHL's GM meetings in Florida on Wednesday. "You have to respect that element of it."

Boston beat Toronto in seven games in the first round of last year's playoffs, and the Atlantic Division rivals appear to be on another collision course this spring.

The Leafs have already dealt with the contracts of two other potential star RFAs in recent months.

Toronto signed William Nylander to a six-year, $45-million US contract on Dec. 1 to end his impasse with the club that forced him to miss the first two months of the season before Auston Matthews reached a five-year, $58.17-million extension on Feb. 5.

Nylander's AAV is $6.962 million while Matthews has an AAV of $11.634 million.

Dubas also said the injury to Jake Gardiner, who is out week to week with a sore back, is not related to the back spasms that kept the defenceman out of two games before January's all-star break.

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