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Why trading Mitch Marner can only make the Leafs Worse

Looking to re-sign Auston Matthews? Trading away his best buddy is a bad way to start negotiations.

It's been debated all across Leaf's nation since they were eliminated. Now that Kyle Dubas is gone, it would appear that no one is safe from large-scale changes around the organization.

According to Elliotte Friedman, one employee with MLSE reported that “It’s like Game of Thrones,” around the team.

Not necessarily a steady workplace environment.

The discourse throughout the fanbase seems to revolve around trading one of the Leafs' core four. Matthews, Marner, Tavares, and Nylander, in an attempt to shake up the dynamic of the locker room.

Not only is it extremely hard to win any trade involving one of those four players, but it’d be nearly impossible to get better through it.

Especially when potentially trading Mitch Marner.

One of the arguments for trading one of the core four is to improve the team defensively. When in fact, the Leafs were one of the greatest defensive teams in the NHL this past season. They were 7th in the league in goals against this season with 220, just five away from being in the top three along with Dallas, Carolina, and Boston. They were also seventh in goals against per game and allowed the seventh least shots against per game.

Much of the Leafs' defensive success revolves around Selke Trophy finalist Mitch Marner’s elite defensive play.

Marner has been voted by members of the professional hockey writers association as one of the top three defensive forwards in the entire NHL, flanked by nominees Patrice Bergeron and Nico Hischier.

His nomination isn't without good reason.

Mitch Marner led the Entire NHL in takeaways this season, with a whopping 104. He also came second in short-handed goals this season with four. He’s the Leafs' most effective penalty killer, one of the league’s best overall defensive forwards, and one of the league's best offensive players, who in the past three seasons, has been on pace to score over 100 points in 82 games.

Not to mention his incredible connection with Auston Matthews.

The two have an incredible chemistry. Out of Matthew's 40 goals this season, Mitch Marner assisted on 18 of them. Nearly half of his goals were created by Mitch Marner. Out of Marner’s 30 goals, Matthews assisted on eight of them. It’s clear that the pair love playing with each other and they have a good relationship off the ice.

 If you’re looking to re-sign Auston Matthews long-term, trading away his best buddy likey won't improve your chances.

Ultimately, trading Marner would reduce offensive production from the top six, including Matthews, and decrease the team’s overall ability to defend. Any return would simply not be able to adequately fill the holes that he would leave behind. It would instantly make the team worse.

Dave Felsbourg

Saturday, May 27, 2023

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