Friedman: Leafs could deal Marner for in exchange for NHL's worst contract

Leafs fans may riot if this actually happens.

Michael W.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are once again going right back to the drawing board after another inexplicable Round 1 exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Stop us if you've heard this one before - they were felled in Game 7 by the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. This marks the 4th time that's happened since 2013.

Right now, the Leafs players have gone through their end-of-season exit media interview, and it was once again a myriad of defensive excuse giving rather than taking responsibility for another devastating failure when it matters most. 

In fact, Mitch Marner brought the house down (in the wrong way) when he likened himself and his teammates to "gods" who walk among us mere mortals: 

Marner, who is set to enter the final year of his current contract this fall, has been listed as a potential scape goat that the Leafs could elect to ditch in what would be the first major shakeup of the "Core 4" that consists of himself, John Tavares, and the newly re-signed Auston Matthews and William Nylander. 

According to NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman, one potential destination for Marner to waive his current no-trade clause could be the Chicago Blackhawks. And in return, he suggests defenseman Seth Jones, who is at the top of almost every list of the worst contracts in the NHL. 

"If the Leafs make a Mitch Marner trade, maybe they don’t, quote-on-quote, win the trade and get a stud defenseman in return, but I would think a defenseman would be part of that package," Friedman began. 

He then suggested Jones, who the Blackhawks acquired in a July 2021 trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets and was signed to an exorbitant eight-year, $76 million ($9.5 million AAV) contract extension, could be the return package. 

“Jones has indicated that losing is not very easy on him,” Friedman reported. “If Chicago is going to keep losing, I wonder how Jones feels. I wonder how Jones would feel about [the Leafs] and how [Toronto] would feel about him.”

Jones didn't mince words during his own end-of-season media availability when he said that he was tired of losing and essentially called out management for not doing enough to accelerate Chicago's rebuild. 

"Obviously there's different expectations when it comes to management and when it comes to the players," he said. "We want to see results now. You know we're not as patient as they are. We don't play this game forever. You know they're in the game a lot longer than we are."

If the Maple Leafs deal Marner and acquire the bloated contract of Jones in return, fans may actually gather up torches and pitchforks and make their way toward GM Brad Treliving's office. 

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