Mitch Marner takes a lap before the game
Photo credit: NHL

Former Leaf tells Mitch Marner to pack his bags, because the writing is on the wall

Published January 9, 2024 at 4:37 PM
BY DEAN CHAUDHRY

With the Toronto Maple Leafs having extended both Auston Matthews and William Nylander to big-money contracts, the eye of the storm has firmly shifted towards Mitch Marner as potentially being the odd-man out should the Leafs decide to move on from the core or look to better themselves in position of needs.

Jay Rosehill, a former Leaf and current podcaster, had quite a bit to say on The Leafs Nation's "Leafs Morning Take, on Monday, but it does bring about a very important question: does Mitch Marner remain a Maple Leaf beyond this season? The obvious answer should be yes, especially when you factor in the no-movement clause, however with just one year remaining until he inevitably hits unrestricted free agency, do the Maple Leafs look to try and move him to better themselves on the backend or add depth around the lineup?

"I see it and i can't help, when I think about Willy, I wanna sign Willy, I don't wanna let him go but every time I think about that contract, I think about Marner and what do we do with the Core-4, Marner's no-trades kicked in and it's like what are we gonna do?

Look at the team this year, are they gonna go the distance? Are they gonna win the Stanley Cup this year? It would be some kind of a miracle and maybe some major changes at the trade deadline.. as of right now I don't think having that many eggs in the basket of the core-4 is gonna work, it's not gonna work in the playoffs, you can have some pretty awesome regular seasons... but in my mind, I've said it before, we need to unload Marner and get as much as we possibly can for him."



The problem always comes back to the notion that trading John Tavares is nearly impossible when you factor in that he's the captain, he's 33-years-old, has a no-movement clause, and his $11 million cap hit is very difficult to move. You cannot move on from Matthews considering how valuable he is to the team and since you just extended Nylander, it's almost a foregone conclusion that he's untouchable for the foreseeable future.

"He's just my pick for that and he's the only guy - I mean Marner, Nylander, or Matthews, no one is going to take that Tavares contract - so for me it's Marner, you can't walk away from Matthews, you don't walk away from Willy, and that leaves the odd man out as Marner and my opinion is that you're not going to win in the playoffs with him, he doesn't have the gumption, he doesn't have the tenacity, he won't go to war with you for two straight months."

If the Maple Leafs ever did decide to move on from the former 4th overall pick, there will be plenty of teams interested regardless of his astronomical cap hit. He is still only 26-years-old, he has over 500-games of experience under his belt, is 6 points shy of 600 for his career, and is coming off back to back seasons in 2021-22 and 2022-23 where he put up 97 and 99 points, respectively.

"Our back end is not good enough... see what you can get for Marner but now we're in a position with no-trades... It's an interesting spot and I really can't wait to see what this team looks like in say a year's time because I think it's going to be quite a bit different but it certainly will have William Nylander on it."

If you do need to make a big change and if you do need to focus on a position of need, the one needle-mover would be Marner. It remains to be seen what Brad Treliving and company do with both Marner and Tavares as they come off the books in the summer of 2025 but from here on out, we're on high alert for Marner specifically.

POLL
January 9   |   1351 answers
Former Leaf tells Mitch Marner to pack his bags, because the writing is on the wall

Will the Leafs move on from Mitch Marner this summer or next?

Yes, this summer37127.5 %
Yes, next summer25518.9 %
No, Mitch is going to be a Leaf for life72553.7 %
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