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Latest report on Mitch Marner is going to make a lot of fans very unhappy


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Mike Armenti
June 3, 2024  (12:12)
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Mitch Marner
Photo credit: Maple Leafs

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman has provided perhaps the most well-rounded update on the Mitch Marner situation since the rumours of a trade first started to fly.

During his most recent 32 Thoughts podcast, Friedman and co-host Jeff Marek discussed the Marner situation at length, and if you're of the mindset that you want Marner moved this summer, brace yourself, because Friedman is not 100% convinced that a trade is coming.
Friedman told Marek and the scores of listeners that he's hearing that both sides are playing this one very carefully to avoid making a very costly mistake. As a result, we could see Marner returning with the Leafs next season, with or without an extension in place.
"Everybody's trying to be really careful here, but one of the things that a few people have told me is not to be surprised if this plays out over next season with Marner and Toronto.

Now, there's a lot of time between here and then, and things can always change, but this is such a delicate conversation between player and team, because everyone is determined to look like a winner here.

The Leafs are determined to either make a good trade, or, with the cap room that's created by that trade, do something big. That they know they can't afford to have a swing and a miss with this one.

Also, the player is determined, and more importantly, the people around the player, are determined to do this and make themselves look good. They're not going to do anything that they think puts them in a bad light, so this is a really complicated thing going in.

I want to throw a couple of other points out there to you. Number one, I think that there is some real concern about how the Toronto fans will react to Marner if he starts next year unsigned. And you can't avoid that... If that's what Marner wants to do, he has every right in the world to do it, but he has to understand that some of the fanbase is not going to react very well to that and you have to play through that. Are you comfortable with that? Can you handle that? And I do believe that's one of the things that's been discussed.

The other issue that [the Maple Leafs] are dealing with here, and I think there are people in the organization who feel very strongly about this, is that they traded Nazem Kadri a couple of years ago when they were mad at him... Nazem Kadri went somewhere else, sorted himself out, was a critical member of a Stanley Cup champion, and is a player that Toronto very much missed after he left and I think there are people in the organization who are looking at this and believe, 'could this be Kadri 2.0?', where Marner goes somewhere else where the spotlight is less intense, he learns how to balance everything and goes out and becomes a key player on a Stanley Cup Champion in another city - which I do believe could happen.

To me, that is a very legitimate thing, that Marner could go somewhere else quieter and really thrive. I think he's a great player and I think he could become an even better player without the spotlight. And I do think there are people within the organization who are very scared of the possibility of that happening."

Friedman didn't completely eliminate the possibility of a Marner trade, but really wanted to emphasize that this is a very complicated situation for both sides and it's not just about getting a deal done and moving on. There are a lot of things to consider that most fans just haven't explored enough in their minds to make the determination that a Marner trade solves all of the problems in Toronto.
"I have to tell you... I know there's people who are like 100% he's getting traded... On Sunday, June the 2nd, I don't know that I'm so certain of that and I think one of the biggest challenges here are going to be the feelings of everybody involved. I just think that this is going to take a lot of diplomacy for a lot of people to do properly.

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Latest report on Mitch Marner is going to make a lot of fans very unhappy

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