Mitch Marner open to being traded.
John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports  

Mitch Marner open to being traded.

Have we already seen the last of forward Mitch Marner in a Toronto Maple Leafs uniform?

Jonathan Larivee

It sounds as though the pressure of playing in a hockey crazed market that just so happens to be located in his home province may have finally become too much for Toronto Maple Leafs star forward Mitch Marner to deal with.

There have been questions regarding Marner's future in Toronto since the Maple Leafs were eliminated in 7 games at the hands of the Boston Bruins and for perhaps the first time there is now talk that Marner himself may welcome such a change.

Marner has become a lightning rod for criticism both from fans and pundits alike for his lackluster performances in the most important games of the season, the Stanley Cup playoffs, and it may very well be that this has taken a toll on the forward after many years under the Toronto spotlight.

On Sunday, the NHL Network's Steve Kouleas revealed that the tone of the talk around Marner has changed very quickly since the season has wrapped up.

"When he finished the dressing room cleanout... my answer would have been no just as a gut feeling," began Kouleas. "But people talk, especially here in the self-proclaimed center of the hockey universe... what the insiders are saying is that Mitch is not against a move."

Kouleas also speculated on some of the reason he believes Marner may want out of Toronto.

"Maybe he thinks its time, maybe there's a place where he can go and hide if you wanna look at it that way," said Kouleas.

Kouleas stated there was a clear difference between Maple Leafs captain John Tavares, who has stated flatly that he will not waive his no-movement clause, and Marner who sounds much more likely to be willing to move.

"It wasn't an emphatic no way," said Kouleas of Marner. "With Mitch... the buzz is not against a move, not saying no. Where this leads? I don't know but it's so exciting."

You can listen to Kouleas' comments in the short clip below.