New Trade Scenario Would Move Mitch Marner to Long Island

Elliot Ben Jacob
June 11, 2023  (3:49 PM)

Potential Big Moves in the Off-Season: Leafs GM's Plans

There's a strong certainty of major activity in the coming off-season, with new Leafs GM Brad Treliving potentially planning to make quite a stir. One such possibility that has surfaced is a move for Mitch Marner to join the ranks in Long Island.

The Hypothetical Trade: Marner to NYI

In this hypothetical trade:
Heading to TOR would be:
- Mat Barzal (with 8 years remaining in his contract)
- Calle Odelius (a 2022 2nd round pick)
- A 2024 2nd round pick
In return, NYI would receive:
- Mitch Marner
Both the Maple Leafs and the Islanders are grappling with substantial issues. The Leafs are striving to retain their star players, while the Islanders are struggling with an overabundance of centers.
The challenge for the Leafs is to ensure sufficient cap space for the re-signing of their core quartet, or alternatively, trading one member to maintain the rest. With the contracts of Auston Matthews and William Nylander set to expire in the next offseason, they are expected to demand higher remuneration.
Meanwhile, the Islanders are grappling with a surplus of five true centers. Lou Lamoriello, the GM of the Islanders, listed Matt Barzal, Bo Horvat, Brock Nelson, JG Pageau, and Casey Cizikas as their current centers. While Cizikas is expected to retire within a couple of years, it doesn't make sense to relegate a player of Pageau's caliber to their fourth line.
A potential solution could involve an exchange sending 2015 draft picks in both directions. For the Leafs, if they considered bringing Barzal in as a second line center - a move that Tavares has expressed willingness to accommodate by shifting to the wing - they could potentially experience increased production rates.
Currently, Barzal serves as the Islanders' top offensive player, performing impressively despite a highly defensive system.

A Win-Win Scenario: The Mock Trade

With the Leafs needing to free up cap space and the Islanders in search of top wingers, this proposed exchange could serve both parties well. The Leafs would stand to save approximately $2 million, providing more flexibility to once again sign Matthews and Nylander.