Does trading Mitch Marner improv the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Stanley Cup chances? That’s the content today’s post will explore. In truth, the idea comes from Justin Bourne as part of Sportsnet’s Real Kyper & Bourne Podcast.
The video can be seen below.
Setting the Context for This Discussion
The Maple Leafs are a team known for its talented roster. But, they have consistently fallen short of playoff success. As fans and analysts suggest answers, the idea of trading star forward Mitch Marner has emerged as a possible solution. In this post, I’ll discuss the possibility that a Marner trade might impact the Maple Leafs’ positively as the team pursues a Stanley Cup. As noted, the content of this post comes from the ideas that Justin Bourne put forth on a recent Sportsnet’s Real Kyper & Bourne Podcast.
What Are the Possibilities?
As Bourne notes, trading a superstar like Marner isn’t an easy decision. As well, making the trade comes with a list of risks and challenges. Bourne acknowledges that acquiring equal value in return for a player of Marner’s caliber is a daunting task.
That said, an exploration of the trade market might suggest that the Maple Leafs can address an area of need while, at the same time, shaving off a ton of the team’s salary-cap problem. It might also move the team closer to where it wants to go – the Stanley Cup final.
Trading Marner Could Help Address the Team’s Goaltending Needs
One area of concern for the Maple Leafs is goaltending. Bourne questions whether the team can rely on their current goaltenders, Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll, to carry them to playoff success. He proposes that a goalie like Juuse Saros from the Nashville Predators could be a better option.
Saros is a top-tier goalie. He also has a manageable salary of $5 million for the next two seasons. He could provide stability and elevate the team’s performance between the pipes.
Trading Marner Could Help the Team Utilize Its Cap Space Wisely
In today’s NHL, salary-cap space is a valuable asset. By trading Marner’s $11 million contract and acquiring Saros, the Maple Leafs would free up significant cap space. The salary-cap flexibility his trade would bring could also open doors for additional roster improvements.
For example, Bourne suggests that the extra $6 million in salary-cap space would allow the team to pursue a defenseman like Dmitry Orlov. Orlov has proven to be reliable and would add depth to the blue line. By making strategic signings and optimizing the cap space, the Maple Leafs could address defensive weaknesses while maintaining their offensive firepower.
Balancing the Trade-offs
While a Marner trade might help address specific areas of concern, there are potential downsides. Losing Marner undoubtedly would impact the team’s offensive ability. He’s been a key contributor to the team’s ability to score goals. That said if the Maple Leafs focused on a balanced roster, they could still maintain their goal-scoring capabilities while bolstering other areas of need. The objective would be to create a team that could excel during both the regular season and the playoffs.
If Marner Would Be Traded, It Might Be Seen as His Own Fault
Trading Marner would make a huge splash. While there would be many Maple Leafs’ fans who would not like the trade, there are others who would relish it. In some ways, if Marner were traded it would be his fault. His agent was the one who pushed so hard for his high salary; and, that put the target on him as a player to trade in a salary-cap dump.
At the same time, it would alleviate the need for new Maple Leafs’ general manager (GM) Brad Treliving to have to face the problematic showdown that would likely occur the next time Marner would negotiate his next contract.
The Bottom Line
Should the Maple Leafs trade Marner, it would be a desperate move to exorcise the team’s repeated postseason disappointments. However, Bourne’s insights about the outcome are logical and make pragmatic sense. Would the trade help the team further its goal to reach the Stanley Cup final?
Ultimately, in the quest to build a championship-caliber team that could contend for the Stanley Cup, the team might be wise to move one of its best players. Very interesting.
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