Toronto Maple Leafs Need to Ignore Fans and Media: Be Smart, Not Emotional

May 2, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN;   Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner (16) plays the puck
May 2, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner (16) plays the puck / Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

No matter who is running the Toronto Maple Leafs next season, the they can't react to their latest playoff loss with emotion.

The fans may be screaming for blood, and most of the media has pretty much already written their obituaries for "The Shanaplan."

But not so fast.

John Tavares, Mitch Marner, Morgan Rielly, William Nylander and Auston Matthews all have no movement clauses in their contracts.

That means that even if the Leafs wanted to trade one of them, and they agreed, the player in question would still be able to dictate which team he goes to. And if you are that team, you obviously wouldn't pay full price in a trade when there is no competition.

And anyone who thinks recapturing the cap-space for any of these players is worth giving them away is wrong and not informed enough about what they're talking about to warrant even giving an opinion on the subject.

So with that being the case, the Leafs are almost certainly going to have to "run it back" no matter what people think or want.

Trading Mitch Marner Is a Stupid Idea

High Ankle sprains usually take "several weeks to several months to heal."

Mitch Marner suffered a high ankle sprain on March 7th and was playing again within a month. He wasn't himself in the series against Boston, and it's no wonder. He likely shouldn't even have been playing. The idea of trading an elite defensive forward who has been on pace for 100 points in four straight season just because fans are mad is about the saddest, most spoiled thing I've ever heard of.

If anything the Leafs need to re-sign Marner before he wins a Hart Trophy or a Conn Smythe. They might actually get a good deal right now. "When the going gets tough, trade your best player in a fit of pique" is not an old saying for a reason.

Auston Matthews and William Nylander were sick and/or injured throughout the Boston series and the Leafs lost Joseph Woll for game 7 which might have been the biggest momentum killer in playoff history.

On top of these injuries was a blue-line that was completely incompatible for the forwards on the roster. NHL teams need a mixture of defensive acumen and puck-moving to win. They need a mixture of size/toughness and mobility. The Leafs clearly over-corrected on this point and it hurt the teams' ability to score.

But despite this and a 1 for 21 power-play, the Toronto Maple Leafs almost won. I realize that "almost" doesn't make people happy, but with so much going against them, the team put up a great fight.

It was clear, even before the playoffs started, that management failed the team by not improving the blue-line or goaltending, and that they were, at best, in a situation where they had to get very lucky to win the Stanley Cup.

The Leafs have a lot of assets and they have a lot of money to spend in the off-season. There is no reason to get rid of anyone from their core other than making change for the sake of it.

They have never had a problem icing a competitive team despite how they've chosen to spend their salary cap money. If they want to try something different when Tavares' contract comes off the books, I'm all for it.


But for this summer, they just need a few better defenseman and a goalie. The easy answer is to break up the core, but the smart thing to do is always the hard thing as well. The Toronto Maple Leafs need to keep this in mind and avoid doing anything stupid, like trading Mitch Marner.