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No-Move Clauses a Massive Issue for Maple Leafs and Marner’s Future

If the Toronto Maple Leafs are eliminated from the playoffs and they want to make changes, their no-move clauses will be a big hurdle.

If the Toronto Maple Leafs are eliminated from the playoffs on Tuesday night, talk among Leafs Nation will be that changes need to take place. Suggesting the bench issues that showed up on Saturday was eight years in the making. The team is frustrated that they can’t find another gear, have lost six playoff home games in a row, and can’t get their top stars to elevate their games when it matters most. Mitch Marner has taken a lot of heat, but he’s not the only problem.

Speaking about the issues, Chris Johnston noted that the Leafs might want to make changes, but that’s going to be easier said than done. Some argue that a no-move clause is little more than a player getting to choose where they want to go these days, but the reality is, that every one of the top core players on the Leafs roster has a no-move clause. They control their fate.

Related: Nylander Was Wearing A Mic During Maple Leafs Bench Argument

Johnston noted, “If all of them say, ‘Hey, we’re staying, screw you.’ there’s literally nothing the team can do.” Johnston’s co-shot Julian McKenzie pointed out that the team could fire head coach Sheldon Keefe, but that would be a stretch too. Keefe was just given a multi-year extension that hasn’t even kicked in yet.

How do the No-Move Clauses Affect Mitch Marner?

If William Nylander and Auston Matthews, are locked in long-term with new deals and no-move clauses, what options do the Leafs have beyond waiting for the contracts of Mitch Marner and John Tavares to expire? In Tavares’ case, it’s less tricky because he only wants to be a Leaf and the question might be finding out how little he’s willing to take to stay.

Matthews yells at Marner
Matthews yells at Marner

With Marner, the Leafs might decide a trade is the best option, but he has to be a willing participant in those discussions. He’s got one more season after this at $10.903M on the books. If the Leafs go to him and say, ‘We’re going to make a change, tell us how you want to handle it.’, the hope is he gives them a list. If he doesn’t, Toronto can’t exactly threaten him with anything because Marner could simply wait for his contract to expire and leave for nothing as a free agent in 2025. It would be the ultimate middle finger to the Leafs– something they might deserve if they ostracize him this summer and next season.

The last thing Toronto can afford to do is let Marner simply walk. Trading him might be difficult, but you need to get something for that asset. He might be polarizing among the fan base, but he holds value in a trade. The Leafs have invested too much into him just to see him bail.

The Leafs have one more game to save their season. If they win, they have to claw back with two more, which could conceivably change the conversation. If they don’t, the offseason will be full of difficult decisions.

Next: Potential Shake-Up Looming for Maple Leafs’ Core

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