The perfect Mitch Marner trade may not involve a defenseman at all

Nick Matthews
May 25, 2024  (8:02 PM)

Mitch Marner
Photo credit: Sportsnet

Mitch Marner has been rumoured in many trade talks recently, and while the Leafs could use help on defence, a center might be more valuable to the club.

The Leafs are going to have many holes to fill in the 2024-25 season, and defence will need to be a focal point. However, there is a glaring hole incoming at the 2C position, as John Tavares is getting older and should be moved to the wing. If a Marner trade happens, it may make more sense for the trade to be focused on the center position, with Brad Treliving and company using the UFA market to deal with their defensive needs, with players like Brandon Montour, Brett Pesce, Matt Roy and perhaps even Brady Skjei rumoured to be going to market.
An ideal trade partner for the Marner trade could be the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks have been one of the teams rumoured to want Marner, and where better to begin trade talks with the Ducks then around young star centreman Mason Mctavish. Mctavish would slot perfectly in the 2C position as he is a hard worker and has great offensive ability. He also still has one year left on his rookie deal, making it a very enticing and affordable option for the Leafs.
Obviously, there's no guarantee that McTavish is even available, regardless of whether Marner is involved, but even a reliable 2C with a little more seasoning would be an intelligent target. Someone like Islanders pivots Mathew Barzal or Bo Horvat, for example, might be a part of an enticing package for the Maple Leafs.
Brad Treliving should consider all options moving forward. The center position is integral to any team, and the 2C position is vital for a Maple Leafs club that needs someone to play behind their superstar 1C, Auston Matthews.
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The perfect Mitch Marner trade may not involve a defenseman at all

Should the Leafs trade Mitch Marner for a center and address the D needs on the free agent market?

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