A Core Four Member Trade by the Maple Leafs Becoming More Likely

Elliot Ben Jacob
June 18, 2023  (12:20)

Rising Case for Toronto Maple Leafs' Core Four Trade

The Toronto Maple Leafs' elite team members, often referred to as the "core four," hold immense value within the team.
However, there's a growing whisper advocating for trading one of these members, an act that might significantly bolster the team's current performance.

The Core Four's Shaky Foundation

Never before has the core four - Mitch Marner, John Tavares, William Nylander, and Auston Matthews - been more potent. With Marner scoring at a 100-point pace, Tavares contributing a point per game, Nylander setting new personal records, and Matthews managing 40 goals despite injuries, their value is indisputable.
Nonetheless, despite their regular-season achievements, they've continually proven their inadequacy in the playoffs. Since their formation in the late 2010s, they have only managed to win one playoff series, which is a concern.
Justin Bourne, in a recent article for Sportsnet, explored potential options for the Maple Leafs if they chose to trade one member of their core four.

Possible Trade Scenario

A potential trade could look something like this:
To Toronto:
Brett Pesce,
Jack Drury,
2023 2nd round pick,
2024 3rd round pick
To Carolina:
William Nylander

Attractive Alternatives

The interest from other teams would likely be substantial if any core four member was put up for trade. Bourne discusses a variety of possible moves, such as acquiring elite goaltending, securing a shutdown defenseman, or even bringing in another star forward. Essentially, the Maple Leafs would have their pick.
Bourne's two most intriguing suggestions involve acquiring Pierre-Luc Dubois or Erik Karlsson. While Nylander's trade could possibly bring in Dubois, the acquisition of Karlsson would likely require Marner.
These changes could diversify the team's talent and inspire major contributions from more lines and players. The Leafs' most feasible option could be a trade down in a core four transaction, where they trade away one or two high-value assets for four or more in return.
Though it might not be a glamorous move, this type of trade could provide the Leafs with a more robust foundation for future success, surpassing the benefits of merely adding another star player.