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Maple Leafs Worried to Make Two Big Mistakes in Marner Talks

The Toronto Maple Leafs are worried to make two big mistakes in talks with Mitch Marner this offseason. What are they and are they avoidable?

As per a discussion between Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek, the ongoing rumors surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs and Mitch Marner aren’t likely to go away anytime soon. During the most recent episode of the 32 Thoughts podcast, Friedman specifically expressed concern that negotiations between the two sides could drag out, potentially becoming a cloud over the team next season.

If the Maple Leafs and Marner try to get an extension done, money is a huge concern, as would be how Marner is perceived by the fan base after signing a lucrative extension. Friedman explained, “…this is such a delicate conversation between player and team because everyone is determined to look like a winner here.” Marner and his camp are determined, not to make themselves look bad. They don’t want to fall flat on their face by putting too much pressure on themselves or taking too little to stay in a city Marner wants to play for.

Mitch Marner injury update Maple Leafs

If Toronto moves on, the Leafs are determined to either make a good trade or with the cap room that’s created by that trade do something big. The problem with a big move is that it has to work — think the Calgary and Florida trade involving Matthew Tkachuk as it worked for Florida and not for Calgary.

How Will Fans React to Marner When As This Unfolds?

Friedman’s sources say there is concern about how the Toronto fans will react to Marner if he starts next year unsigned. “I think he is all the right in the world to do it but he has to understand that some of the fan base is not going to react very well to that and you have to play through that are you comfortable with that?,” asked Friedman, somewhat rhetorically.

If he holds out but isn’t open to a move, fans will grow bitter, especially as the situation hangs over the franchise during a season where they need to rebound from another disappointing loss in the playoffs. Time is limited for this team and the longer Marner and the Leafs drag everything out, the more intense things will get.

The Maple Leafs Can’t Afford to Mess Up a Marner Trade

Friedman reports that a trade isn’t so easy to make, even if Marner is open to it. The NHL insider explained:

“I think with the Maple Leafs the other issue that they 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 years ago when they were mad at him.” At the time, the trade felt like the right thing to do because Kadri had worn out his welcome. But, he proceeded to improve his play and be a big part of the Colorado Avalanche winning the Stanley Cup.

If Marner goes somewhere else where the spotlight is less intense and becomes a key player on a Stanley Cup championship roster, it’s a massive loss. The Maple Leafs organization will not only hear about it but have to live with the mistake.

Friedman thinks this whole situation could eventually lead to a divorce but it’s not a situation that will be figured out in short order. Expect talk to inundate the offseason and drag into next season.

Next: Will Evander Kane Miss Time in Stanley Cup Final After Injury?



  1. afp1961

    June 3, 2024 at 2:08 pm

    Loads will be written about this saga on both sides of the fence. What many have not touched upon is the chemistry and dynamic change that could result from moving on from Marner. While it is not a tangible asset that can be seen, the impact of culture change could be huge (either way). What we know is the current culture, and core group has not worked for 8 years. Thinking that it will change now is again a fatal mistake in itself. Change is needed beyond just a coaching change IMO. I trust that clear minds will prevail as the Kadri example you point out was orchestrated by an incompetent Dufas who had never dealt with such an issue before. Treliving on the other hand dealt and learnt with the Panarin loss (for nothing) but a very good return (on paper) for Tkachuk who the entire world knew was going to leave Calgary. Heres hoping Tre has some expertise he can bring to this exercise. MLSE seems committed to examing everything so Treliving does have aligned internal support to explore all options.

    How about calling vegas and getting Theodore and Karlsson plus a 3rd rd pick for Marner. Money works and both sides can point ot quality returns.

  2. gcmgome

    June 3, 2024 at 3:25 pm

    Is worrying about losing a trade really a major concern? At this point the Leafs have so many glaring roster holes to fill that the gained cap space is the paramount consideration.

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