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Leafs Emerge as a Destination for Popular Free Agent Center


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James Connelly
June 11, 2023  (12:24)
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The offseason kicking into high gear shows how there are lots of potential destinations for star players and blockbuster trades.

Hypothetical Trade that Sends Marner To NYI

The Maple Leafs and the Islanders both have massive problems. The Maple Leafs need to ensure they get their star players to stay while the Islanders have too many centers.
With the Leafs, they need to have enough cap space to re-sign the core four or trade one for maximum value to keep the other three. Next offseason, the contracts of Auston Matthews and William Nylander expire and they will both command raises.
The Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello said they have a problem with having 5 true centers: Matt Barzal, Bo Horvat, Brock Nelson, JG Pageau, and Casey Cizikas. While Cizikas is likely going to retire in the next two years, it makes little sense to have a player like Pageau on their fourth line.
Enter a swap that sends 2015 draft picks back each way. If the Leafs were to target Barzal as a 2nd line center (Tavares said he would be willing to move to the wing), they could see him produce at a very high rate. He is currently the Islanders' best offensive weapon and does so while playing in a very defensive system.
The Islanders need top wingers and the Leafs need to shed some cap space. This swap would save the Leafs roughly $2 million giving them more leeway to resign Matthews and Nylander.

Mock Trade

To TOR:
Mat Barzal (signed for 8 more years)
Calle Odelius (2022 2nd round pick
2024 2nd round pick
To NYI:
Mitch Marner (signed for 2 more years)
As seen on LeafsNation - Mat Barzal for Mitch Marner, a far-fetched hypothetical swap
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11 JUIN   |   320 ANSWERS
Leafs Emerge as a Destination for Popular Free Agent Center

Who wins the mock trade?

Toronto18858.8 %
New York7924.7 %
Fair Trade5316.6 %
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