NHL Insider drops frustrating report on Maple Leafs' offseason plans

Dean Chaudhry
May 8, 2024  (10:38)

Mitch Marner and John Tavares celebrating a goal.
Photo credit: Dan Hamilton - USA Today Sports

One trusted NHL Insider, TSN's Chris Johnston, revealed something fans may not like this week, that the Toronto Maple Leafs may opt to run it back one more time.

There are a myriad of questions being posed about the Toronto Maple Leafs and the makeup of their roster. They have too many supposed superstars making an egregious amount of money, but when push comes to shove, they don't perform or produce for one reason or another. Sometimes it's untimely injuries, other times the limelight seems to be too bright.
The core seemingly has to be broken up and with Auston Matthews and William Nylander having inked long-term extensions within the last calendar year, they are safe from the chopping block. As a result, all eyes are firmly set on Mitch Marner and John Tavares, who will be playing on expiring contracts, but there are too many perceived barriers that might prevent a trade from materializing - something Johnston alluded to on the CJ Show this week.
Now, it's not just the offense that's to blame, but the expensive contracts prevent the Maple Leafs from splurging or remodeling their defense and goaltending. However, Johnston believes that because of their high cap hits and perceived lack of interest on the trade market - specifically Tavares - the Leafs might roll into 2024-25 with the same core, albeit for a different reason than usual:
"Maybe there is a trade for Mitch Marner out there that gets them back a defenseman, like someone you can put on your top pairing and is going to be here for 5 years or something like that. I don't think that's an easy trade to make, you probably need some things to come together but this is the exercise in front of management... They may have to bring back all 4 forwards next year but I can't imagine they're doing that while extending Tavares or Marner. I think you're probably walking them into free agency."

The Leafs might not have many options on the table and with both players carrying no-movement clauses, it makes things that much harder on the trade front. Marner still holds enough cache around the league where a trade can materialize but the Leafs might be on the wrong end of things considering cap hit, urgency to make a move, and other teams most likely trying to take advantage of the situation.
Only time will tell, but there's a good chance that the Leafs run things back one more time but just in an effort to alleviate themselves of the salary cap and headache for the 2025-26 season. They're both still very important and impactful players but their time seems to be running out in Toronto, whether they get traded or walk into free agency in the summer of 2025.
8 MAI   |   764 ANSWERS
NHL Insider drops frustrating report on Maple Leafs' offseason plans

Is John Tavares a tradable asset?

No, costs too much and he's too old24932.6 %
Yes, he can still be impactful16621.7 %
He's sticking around whether we like it or not34945.7 %
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