Maple Leafs’ Mitch Marner Trade Saga Takes Unexpected Turn: Report

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner.

Getty Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner.

When we all thought the Toronto Maple Leafs and Mitch Marner were headed for a breakup, an NHL insider brought an entirely different possibility to the table.

Insider Darren Dreger appeared on TSN 1050’s First Up on June 17 and revealed that Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving prefers extending Mitch Marner’s contract rather than trading him.

“Are we so sure Toronto doesn’t want to extend Mitch? I’m not. I think Treliving would rather extend [Marner] than trade. But they’re not having those discussions yet either. It’s still early, it’s very premature across the board,” Dreger said.

Dreger’s take is rather interesting as most reports emerging during the past few weeks and days pointed toward a departure from Toronto rather than an extension signed by Marner.

The insider expanded on his thoughts and provided more context to the ongoing saga involving Marner and the Maple Leafs.

“If Brad Treliving has a conversation with a club or clubs, and there’s a potential trade scenario that develops from those conversations, yeah, he could take that to the Marner camp,” Dreger said. “And the Marner camp could say, ‘Yep, alright, you obviously don’t want me, so I’m okay with that. And by the way, there’s a big extension that comes with it? Okay, yeah, fine.’

“I believe, based on the people I’ve talked to–and again, as we’re having this conversation, Marner’s preference is to play out his contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. It doesn’t mean he’s going to walk out the door after next year, that doesn’t mean it at all. Of course, there’s risk of that because he’d be a pending unrestricted free agent. That’s not the perfect position for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but Marner negotiated his deal in good faith, including the no-move clause.”


Conflicting Reports on Marner’s Future

Most recently, on June 15, NHL insider Chris Johnston shared on The Chris Johnston Show that no final decision has been made regarding Marner’s potential trade entering the offseason.

“They have not decided 100 percent they have to trade him,” Johnston stated.

A few days earlier, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said on the June 14 episode of the 32 Thoughts podcast that he would rather avoid discussing Marner due to the contentious nature of the topic.

“You cannot say anything about this topic without somebody going berserk,” Friedman said. “This is why this is the hardest topic to discuss in the NHL.”

On June 10, Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff suggested that Toronto might pressure Marner’s camp into a corner, indicating a possible move away from him, which could have led to Friedman’s comments later.

“I think the Leafs are going to make a play and basically back him into a corner over the next three weeks,” Seravalli said.

When asked about Marner by Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic at the NHL Combine on June 4, Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving emphasized that any decision would focus on improving the team rather than making changes for the sake of it.

“We’re not going to do play-by-play on it. We’ve got to look at every possible way for our team to be better,” Treliving said. “Mitch controls a lot of this whole thing.

“We’re certainly not going to make a trade just so we can pound our chest and say, ‘Look, we’re different.'”

Mitch Marner’s Great Season & Playoffs Struggles

Marner’s six-year contract with Toronto has an annual average value of $10.9 million and is set to expire on July 1, 2025. He inked this deal on September 2019 under another Leafs GM, Kyle Dubas.

Marner is eligible to sign an extension on July 1. He indicated his desire to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the future by signing a contract extension as long as the franchise offers it.

Marner is coming off scoring 85 points (26 goals, 59 assists) in 69 games during the 2024 regular season. The winger, however, suffered a high-ankle sprain on March 4 and missed nearly a month of play.

Marner returned at the end of the regular season scoring 1 goal and assisting 8. Marner, however, only scored 1 goal and provided 2 assists in seven first-round postseason games against the Boston Bruins.

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