Elliotte Friedman implies Toronto's “Core 4” is breaking up

Are we seeing the beginning of the end in Toronto?

Michael W.

It was one of the biggest stories in the world when the famed "Fab Four" went their separate ways in 1970, and we could be seeing a split up of a current famed foursome. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs once again was their season end in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and rampant speculation is abounding as to what the Leafs brain trust will do to build on the decision to fire head coach Sheldon Keefe.

And right now, it's looking more and more like we could see a break up of Toronto's famed "Core 4" of Mitch Marner, John Tavares, William Nylander and Auston Matthews. The latter pair of players are under contract for several more years, while the former pair of players are both entering the final year of their current respective deals. 

According to NHL Insider Elliott Friedman of Sportsnet, it looks as though the writing is on the wall for one or perhaps both of Tavares and Marner with the Leafs. 

"If you're Tavares or Tavares' representatives, you have to recognize the possibility they may come to you," Friedman opined in his latest '32 Thoughts' podcast. "If you are Marner or Marner's representatives you have to recognize the possibility that by simply saying they are not going to do certain things contract-wise, whether it's the number or the structure or whatever you want to make it that you're going to have to consider going elsewhere. I think right now we are in the unwinding phase, and I would expect in the next week or two that some of these conversations are going to take place.

There are teams out there that are going to start asking Toronto, 'Okay, if Marner is available, what are we looking at here?' As I've said before, going back to last summer with Nylander, teams know that Toronto is looking for the best defenseman that they can possibly get. So who's out there via trade and what are some of these teams willing to do. That's what I think the next month before the draft is going to be all about."

Are we heading for an impending breakup of the "Core 4" of the Leafs? 

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