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Leafs ‘Bold Prediction’ Sees Mitch Marner Traded to Vegas

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While the NHL cannot compete with other mainstream leagues such as the NFL and the NBA regarding casual offseason buzz, that’s precisely what makes bold hockey predictions bolder than any other, let alone when they include the Toronto Maple Leafs.

That’s what Joe Yerdon of Bleacher Report went for in an article published on May 25, whose “bold 2024 offseason prediction” for the Vegas Golden Knights is a blockbuster trade for Leafs star winger Mitch Marner.

“The Vegas Golden Knights will trade for Mitch Marner. We don’t know for sure that Marner is available for trade, but the conditions are ripe right now for the Leafs to move him,” Yerdon wrote.

While this Marner-to-Vegas prediction could initially strike as impossible to watch happen, there might be something to it upon further analysis.


Perfect Conditions for a Marner Trade to Vegas?

Yerdon’s bold prediction is not an entirely crazy proposition and he built a solid case for the potential trade to happen in a hypothetical scenario.

For context, the Leafs’ financial constraints and Marner’s impending contract expiration are a good start to get the idea going.

According to PuckPedia, Toronto will enter the offseason with $19.4 million in cap space. That feels like a lot, but that figure only includes 14 of the mandatory 23 players under contract. Marner’s $11 million cap hit for the 2025 season will take more than 12% of the NHL cap room, set at nearly $88 million.

“The conditions are ripe right now for the Leafs to move him with him having one year left on his contract and the Leafs perpetually being close to the cap ceiling,” Yerdon wrote.

For a trade to be completed, however, it’d take two to tango. Enter the savvy Golden Knights.

“We also know that any time there is a big-name player potentially on the market the Vegas Golden Knights are going to at least be kicking the tires,” Yerdon wrote. “Vegas is another team that’s forever close to the cap but doesn’t let that get in the way of making any move they deem fit.”

There would be serious questions about a move such as this, however, starting with how the Golden Knights could finagle enough cap space to make such a trade. Yerdon came up with a few solutions that could help both Vegas and Toronto.


Leafs and Golden Knights Could Complete a “Hockey Trade”

Trading a key player like Marner, who is an essential part of Toronto’s lineup and one of the best producers on the Leafs, could backfire if the return doesn’t meet expectations. However, Vegas’ history of aggressive trades and the players they can send the other way suggests they could complete a deal as the one Yerdon proposed.

Vegas has many players that Toronto could certainly use going forward. Among those who could help balance the salaries exchanged in the Marner trade, Yerdon mentions Shea Theodore, William Karlsson, Nicolas Roy, Ivan Barbashev, and Adin Hill as potential trade chips.

Adding a player of Marner’s caliber could significantly boost Vegas’ chances for the next season. The Dallas Stars eliminated the Knights in the first round of the 2024 playoffs after Vegas won the Stanley Cup in 2023.

Acquiring Marner, however, could make it difficult for the Golden Knights to keep their pending free agents in tow, including Jonathan Marchessault, Chandler Stephenson, William Carrier, and Alec Martinez.

This trade is highly unlikely, of course, and it’s highly probable the Golden Knights would take a vast amount of care before making the call, assuming Toronto accepts their offer and Marner waives his No-Move Clause unblocking the move.

Finally, Yerdon offers an interesting angle that could give legs to this prediction, or at least a similar one: Las Vegas will host the NHL draft in June 2024.

“Teams that host the NHL Draft always like to make a splash and since Vegas is picking late in the first round, it’s hard to do that from there,” Yerdon wrote. “Swinging a blockbuster trade is another way to bring the house down and doing it for Marner would leave everyone around the league talking for years to come.”

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