VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The Toronto Maple Leafs have freed up valuable salary-cap space by trading veteran forward Patrick Marleau to the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes acquired a conditional first-round pick and a seventh-round selection in next year’s draft.

The trade was announced shortly before the start of the second round of the NHL draft in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Saturday.

The Maple Leafs acquired a 2020 draft pick from Carolina in a deal that saves Toronto $6.25 million in salary-cap space.

The 39-year-old Marleau is entering the final season of an $18.75 million, three-year contract that he signed with Toronto in free agency. He spent the first 19 of his 21 NHL seasons in San Jose.

The trade comes a few days after Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said there was “a strong chance” Marleau would be back next season.

The Maple Leafs face a cap crunch in opening talks to re-sign forward Mitchell Marner, a restricted free agent after completing his three-year rookie contract.


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