Toronto Maple Leafs: Is Mitchell Marner On His Way Out?

The Toronto Maple Leafs are going to have to make some big decisions this offseason. Toronto has made it to the postseason for the last three years, but they could maybe be in danger of missing the postseason next season if they don’t make the right moves. The Maple Leafs have the talent to win a championship and a lot of people thought they were going to win it all when Toronto signed John Tavares last offseason, but they didn’t. The number one priority this offseason for the Toronto Maple Leafs is to re-sign Mitchell Marner. He is a restricted free agent, but Toronto may not be able to match the offer sheet depending on what the asking price is for him.

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Supposedly, Marner wants $10 million a season. John Tavares is getting $11 million a season and starting next season, Auston Matthews will be getting $11.634 million a season.

They are potentially putting themselves into cap hell. Mitchell Marner should have been an All-Star last season and he was probably their best player. It would be inexcusable for the Toronto front office to let him walk.

In 82 games played last season, he scored 26 goals and recorded 64 assists. His plus/minus was 22. In 241 career games, Marner has scored 67 goals and recorded 157 assists. His plus/minus is 21.

In seven playoff games this past season, Mitchell Marner scored two goals and recorded two assists. His plus/minus was -4. In 20 career playoff games, he has scored five goals and recorded 12 assists. His plus/minus is -1.

What the Toronto Maple Leafs need to consider doing this offseason is finding trade partners for players like Patrick Marleau, William Nylander, or Jake Gardiner.

Gardiner and Marleau both have expiring contracts after the 2020 season. Marleau is owed $6.25 million next season, and Gardiner is owed $4.05 million next season.

General Manager Kyle Dubas should consider trading Patrick Marleau and Jake Gardiner’s contract so that they could give Mitchell Marner the money he wants. This would add up to $10 million and Marner would be able to get that $10 million he wants.

I would give him a six or a seven-year deal worth $8.5 to $9 million. I don’t think any other team in the NHL has at least three players being paid at least $10 million or more.

Nathan Horton‘s $5.3 million expiring contract can’t be traded due to failed physicals and no team would want to deal with it.

I could see Toronto maybe trading centerman Nazem Kadri‘s $4.5 million contract and it doesn’t expire until after the 2022 season.

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Kadri has a reputation for being a dirty player. In 73 games played last season, he scored 16 goals and recorded 28 assists. His plus/minus was -2.

Marleau played in 82 games last season. He only scored 16 goals and recorded 21 assists. His plus/minus was -6.

Gardiner was one of the better defensemen on the Maple Leafs last season. In 62 games played, he only scored three goals but Jake Gardiner recorded 27 assists. His plus/minus was 19.

If for some reason the Toronto Maple Leafs can’t afford to sign him, they could either trade him before July 1 or Mitchell Marner will sign elsewhere and some of those teams could be the New York Islanders, the New York Rangers, the New Jersey Devils, the Dallas Stars, or the Montreal Canadiens.

What do you think the Toronto Maple Leafs should do with Mitchell Marner? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Glenn on Twitter @glennkaplan13.

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