Ryan O'Reilly Pushed Nashville to Trade for Mitch Marner

Tampa Bay Lightning v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Two
Tampa Bay Lightning v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Two / Claus Andersen/GettyImages
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Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner could have been a member of the Nashville Predators at the beginning of the 2024-25 season if Ryan O'Reilly had his way.

In a recent report, Nick Kypreos mentioned that O'Reilly tried to convince Nashville Predators GM Barry Trotz to trade for Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Mitch Marner this offseason, prior to the team acquiring Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Marchessault and Brady Skjei.

To be perfectly honest, those three players are a better option that only acquiring Marner, so Trotz made the right decision, but that would have been a blockbuster move.

Let's get hypothetical for a second and walk through the potential trade scenario that would have sent Marner to Nashville. First, and foremost, Marner would have had to agree to a move to the Predators, but if he hypothetically said "yes", who would the Leafs actually covet in a return?

The first player is obviously goaltender Juuse Saros, but the team just signed him an eight-year extension, so it felt like they had intentions of keeping him the whole time. So if it's not Saros, who could it be? Well, I think a forward for forward, plus picks or prospects could have been the perfect trade for both parties.

A Marner for Forsberg Trade Would Have Been Perfect

If the Predators wanted to afford Marner, they would have had to shed a lot of cap-space and one forward who's making a lot of money on their roster is Flip Forsberg. At $8.5M for the foreseeable future, Forsberg would be a great trade-chip for the Leafs and someone they would have loved to have.

Locked in until 2030, Forsberg is a two-time 40-goal scorer and would have been an unbelievable second-line winger for the Leafs. Auston Matthews is good enough to carry his own line and as shown in the past, all he needs is someone to get him the puck and someone to go retrieve the puck. It's why Zach Hyman, Marner and him were so good together.

However, you don't need to spend a ton of money on that line for it to be effective. For example, a Matthew Knies, Max Domi and Auston Matthews line this year should be more than good enough, as Knies can retrieve, Domi can pass and Mathews can score.

As for the second-line, the Leafs could have gone with an insane trio of John Tavares, William Nylander and Forsberg that would have so much fire-power that they'd dominate the opposition. In my opinion, this trade would have made the Leafs better and would have also gave them third-line options, as they could always move Knies down to the third-line, or push Nylander down to provide some extra depth.

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Unfortunately this trade never happened and O'Reilly never got his way, but I really wish there was a world where Forsberg came here in exchange for Marner.