Eichel Trade Shows Toronto Maple Leafs Should Never Trade Marner

Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates holding his True Brand Project X stick (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates holding his True Brand Project X stick (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

The Buffalo Sabres have taken mismanagement to new heights and the Toronto Maple Leafs should take note.

Over the last six months, the Toronto Maple Leafs fanbase has floated an idea that would have been unthinkable prior to the Canadiens series last spring (and which is still unthinkable to most of their fans and all the sane ones).

That idea: Trading Mitch Marner. 

The reason: Some whiners didn’t get exactly what they wanted when they wanted it.

Having a 23 year who finished the season 2nd in 5v5 scoring (4th overall) and being one of three elite scorers to provide elite defense (Crosby and Stone are the others), who is better than Nathan MacKinnon was at the same age, and who isn’t done getting better apparently isn’t good enough for some.

But if you were still on the fence about trading Marner (which, for the record, would instantly be the worst move in the long and checkered history of the Toronto Maple Leafs) the Jack Eichel trade should end the fantasy for good.

Toronto Maple Leafs Can Learn From the Jack Eichel Trade

Today the Sabres traded someone who could have been the best player in the history of their franchise for two OK wingers, an eventual low first round pick, and a third round pick.

That thud you just heard was Kevyn Adams career coming to a swift and brutal end.

Look, I get that Eichel needs surgery and so he isn’t being traded at the height of his value and that this is probably the best package they were going to get.

But you don’t accept this package for a potentially generational, potentially second or third best player in the NHL.  What you do is let him have his surgery, because even if it fails and he never plays again, the cap relief from his deal is preferable to this C Grade Package.

The Knights essentially punt this season while Eichel and most of their other good players recover from injury. If they are lucky and make the playoffs, they’ve got an instant contender playing from a (probable) low seed.  If not, assuming Eichel does fully recover, they enter next season as the NHL’s best team.

And Buffalo’s 40 year rebuild continues.

Look, Tuch and Krebs are decent complimentary pieces, but barring a  completely unexpected turn of events, neither player is  a star.  To not get even a lottery pick for Eichel is a bad.  To not even get a top prospect is unbelievable.

Even if Buffalo got two more decent players in this deal, it would be a failure because in the NHL a star player is worth an entire roster of non-star players.   Any team can find a Krebs or a Tuch at any time.  You find an Eichel once in 40 years if you’re lucky.

This is a sad day for Buffalo’s fans.  The franchise deserves this, but the fans don’t.  What a disaster.  The Toronto Maple Leafs, however, can take solace in the fact that they have ignored their worst fans and media members.

Next. The Potentially Worst Move In Leafs History. dark

The reason you don’t trade young superstars in hockey is because you never get back anything close to what you’re offering.  With the exception of the Forsberg/Lindros trade, there isn’t a single example in NHL history of a team trading a Hall of Fame forward in his early 20s and not having it blow up in their face.