Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic wrote today that he believes that if Kyle Dubas is retained as Toronto Maple Leafs general manager he will shop star forward Mitch Marner. LeBrun cites Dubas proactively bringing up the Matthew Tkachuk trade in his press conference as a sign that the young Maple Leafs GM is ready to make radical changes to shake up Toronto’s core and he sees Florida’s bold move as a template from which to work from.
LeBrun also goes on to add that he believes Marner is the easiest trade to make from a contractual standpoint. Marner has two years left on his current contract and will not have any no trade protection, while William Nylander and Auston Matthews will receive no trade clauses on July 1st and John Tavares already has a full no move clause. The Maple Leafs could shop Marner to all 31 other teams and drive up a bidding war for the 26-year-old. LeBrun ends his article by stating that should the Leafs trade Marner that they would need a top pairing defenseman in return at a minimum.
In other Maple Leafs notes:
- Pierre LeBrun is of the opinion that any Auston Matthews trade is likely not going to happen as he believes the Maple Leafs will instead focus on extending Matthews when he becomes eligible to sign his next contract on July 1st. LeBrun adds that replacing Matthews would be nearly impossible for Toronto to do and given Matthews track record one would have to agree with him. The five-time 40+ goal scorer struggled at times this season, but still managed to put up 85 points in 74 games. One thing that could be a sticking point is the cap hit that Matthews will be looking for on his next long-term deal.
- Pierre LeBrun also discussed Toronto assistant coach Spencer Carbery saying that he believes Carbery’s old team the Washington Capitals have already asked the Toronto Maple Leafs for permission to interview him about their vacant head coaching position. Neither Washington nor Toronto would confirm LeBrun’s hunch that the Capitals are looking to have a reunion with the one-time head coach of their AHL affiliate. Washington have also looked at Tampa Bay Lightning assistant coach Jeff Halpern as a candidate.