Maple Leafs will trade members of “Core Four” of forward talent this summer!

Maple Leafs will trade members of “Core Four” of forward talent this summer!

This is the sentiment that emerged from today’s press conference.

Chris Gosselin

Insider Chris Johnston puts it best: “without saying it explicitly, the Toronto Maple Leafs leadership and management couldn’t have made it more clear reading between the lines that they’re going to explore moving one or more members of their core this summer.”

During their media session following the end of the season of the Leafs, Keith Pelley, Brendan Shanahan and Brad Treliving all hinted at significant roster changes this summer.

“We will look at everything this summer and consider everything this summer,” Shanahan said, declining to speak on the future of any specific players.

Treliving also didn’t point to specific players, but the overwhelming feeling is that the “Core Four” of forward talent will be taken apart. They brilliantly danced around the question, though it was still pretty obvious trades will come to Toronto. 

Prior to today’s presser, many rumours had already surface on the future of winger Mitch Marner and captain John Tavares in Toronto. Both are entering the final seasons of their contracts after Treliving extended both Auston Matthews and William Nylander this season. Marner will enter the final year of his contract in October and can sign an extension as early as July 1.

Tavares, who’s signed through next season with an annual salary-cap hit of $11 million, expressed interest in re-signing with the Maple Leafs once his deal expires, just like Marner. Both hold no-movement clauses in their respective contract.

As insider Pierre LeBrun expresses, this is a complicated situation that Gm Treliving was shoved into last summer when he took over for Kyle Dubas:

“As I’ve said many times before, one of the damaging effects of the Dubas / Shanahan divorce last summer was losing the last window to look at moving core guys before their full NMC’s kicked in. Can’t ask a new GM to come in last summer and feel comfortable doing that right away. So now the work is more delicate and challenging if that’s where the Leafs are going. Doesn’t mean it can’t be done. But it’s way harder.”

One thing is certain for the Maple Leafs and their fanbase going into the offseason: it is going to be a very interesting summer in Toronto. No doubt about it.

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