Toronto Maple Leafs Fans are Not Happy With Mitch Marner, Does it Make Sense to Trade the Winger?

It’s been less than a week since the Toronto Maple Leafs were eliminated in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens. The Leafs are coming off a season where they won 35 games and finished with 77 points which led the North Division. 

The expectations were high as the Leafs went into the playoffs but almost immediately they team was hit with adversity. Team captain John Tavares was kneed in the head in a quick bang-bang play during Game 1. The team would rally around Tavares and quickly take a 3-1 series lead. 

However, that series lead would end up evaporating and the Canadiens came back to win the series. The Leafs key players Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner were missing in action during the series. Matthews and Marner accounted for one goal and nine assists between the two players. 

During the Game 7 loss to the the Canadiens, Matthews scored his lone playoff goal. 

Mitch Marner Ghosted in the Playoffs

Marner was silent in the playoffs, he only had four assists and was a non-factor during the first round. The expectations were high and fans expected the Leafs to get past the Canadiens in the first round. Now that the dust has settled on the game, Leafs fans are still pissed with Marner and how he essentially ghosted during the playoffs. 

Fans are calling for Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas to trade the winger. Marner will earn $11 million next season and that cap number might be hard to move. While his play was lackluster and he made some bonehead plays, Dubas said he won’t “be foolish” when it comes to Marner or Matthews. 

“I understand the fans and they can feel any way they want, and media are entitled to feel any way that they want, but these are two awfully great players that showed it over the entire regular season,” Dubas said.

Marner led the Leafs during the regular season with 67 points, 20 goals and 47 assists. While it feels like Marner produces during the regular season, he becomes a shell of himself during the playoffs. Marner has not put the biscuit into the net in his last 18 playoff games. 

The Leafs needs production from their $11 million player in Marner during the playoffs.

What’s next for Marner?

Fans are clamoring for a trade and moving his salary will not be easy. Dubas is adamant that he will not move Marner and will build around the young forward.

Brendan Shanahan, president of the Toronto Maple Leafs also shared that same sentiment. Despite wanting to keep the young core together, fan pressure is mounting in Toronto and the front office may have to address the elephant in the room.

“We understand the disappointment that everybody feels year in and year out,” Shanahan said. “The support that we get from you is so vitally important and so appreciated by us in the team every year,” he said.

Shanahan said that he and the front office take full responsibility for the early playoff exit. “Starting with me and Kyle Dubas, our management staff, our coaching staff and all of our players, we take responsibility for disappointing you, letting you down and not getting the job done,” said the team president. Our players, I’ve seen them, in recent years, very disappointed after first-round playoff defeats.”

Jettisoning Marner might make fans feel better but Dubas doesn’t think it makes sense. “I understand the fans can feel any way they want. Media are entitled to feel the way they want. But these are two awfully great young players who showed over the entire regular season what they are capable of. Each has had success in the playoffs previously.”

Pack Your Bags Mitch?

Marner is the hometown kid getting to live out his dream playing for the Leafs. The Leafs and their fans have placed high expectations of Marner which he has lived up to during the regular season. Fact of the matter is he is not a big time postseason player and he is not “the guy” to lead a team during a series.

Seth Jones for Mitch Marner, Who Says No?

On the surface, adding the right shot defenseman would be a great fit for the Leafs. Seth Jones has 286 points in 580 career games. Marner would be a great return for Jones as the two teams would move key pieces from their core.

The Leafs defense wasn’t the issue during the postseason, Marner and Matthews disappearing was. Jones would help generate offense on the back end, potentially improve the power play and he would pair well with Morgan Reilly.

Jones wasn’t great this season with the Blue Jackets and finished with a -5.8 goals above replacement. Even though Jones is expected to leave the Blue Jackets, its unknown whether the Columbus front office would want to add Marner and his high price tag. 

It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Leafs trade Marner, but only for the right return. The team will not cave to fan pressure as Dubas has a good feel for how to continue to build the team. With 12 players eligible to become unrestricted free agents including Zach Hyman, Alex Galchenyuk and Jason Spezza, Dubas will have some big decisions for the roster. 

Marner is public enemy number one, but the team has no interest at least right now in trading they’re young expensive forward.

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– Chris Henrique (@ChrisHenrique on Twitter)

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