Analyst reveals who the Leafs should ditch

And it's not a member of the Core 4!

Michael W.

Now that the offseason has officially begun for the Toronto Maple Leafs after yet another early exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, attention has turned to the moves that general manager Brad Treliving and President of Hockey Operations Brendan Shanahan will be making in their latest effort to get them over the hump.

They've already replaced Sheldon Keefe behind the bench with Craig Berube, and understandably, the attention has turned toward the futures of two members of the "Core 4" in Mitch Marner and John Tavares, both of whom have only one year left on their respective contracts. 

And while the prevailing thought is that the Leafs could elect to part ways with Marner, one particular analyst thinks that it isn't a popular forward that they need to move on from, but rather a veteran defenseman. While speaking on "Leafs Morning Take", reporter John Shannon opined that Toronto would be wise to part ways with Morgan Rielly, who has been a mainstay on the blue line for the last decade.

He stated: 

"Eight [years] is enough with this group," he said. "When you dig deep, those four forwards are they the real problem in the end? Aren't there more symptoms of a team that relishes in mediocrity in the playoffs that should really improve somewhere else, like in goal...And then you have to look at the defense. I think Simon Benoit was really good, but I don't think the Leafs need four Simon Benoits.

The guy that I think should be moved - more conversation should occur, is Morgan Rielly. You were talking about cap space, and it won't be as much cap space as Marner, but if you can move Rielly and find something for him, that to me, makes a ton more sense because their defense is just not good enough. Period. Their offense might be good enough, but their defense is not."

They'd be hard-pressed to find a taker for his contract, which still has six seasons remaining with an AAV of $7.5 million. The Leafs would almost certainly have to retain a portion of his salary in any potential trade they make. 

Leafs fans, does Shannon have a point when he states that Toronto ought to move on from Rielly? 

Recommended articles: