Monster trade rumour between Maple Leafs and Utah club surfaces!

Monster trade rumour between Maple Leafs and Utah club surfaces!

The new club wants to go after a big one ahead of the first season in franchise history.

Chris Gosselin

On Thursday, the Smith Entertainment Group announced that the new NHL franchise will be called Utah Hockey Club and it unveiled the initial logos and jerseys that will be used in 2024-25.

That’s one business matter that has been taken care of for the new club as they now focused their attention on the trade and free agent markets. According to Jeff Marek of Sportsnet, the Utah HC could go after a significant move as he floated the scenario that Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares could be targeted. Marek believes the new franchise
could be the right fit for the veteran forward. Although Tavares has a no-movement clause in his current deal, Marek wonders if he would waive it to head down to Utah:

“I had a conversation with someone who wondered about a team like Utah and here’s why, Utah has a lot of young players, Logan Cooley is an obvious one, Utah is most likely in the business for veteran players on short-term deals and the theory is that they could offer Tavares a pretty healthy number on a two-year contract as a why to entice him to waive a no-trade, would that make sense to you?”

Marek’s co-host Elliotte Friedman was however quick to debunk the rumour, stating that Tavares intends to honor the final season of his contract with the Leafs.

“Everything can always be made to make sense to me but I am under the impression that Tavares is going to play in Toronto next year.”

But it’s been clear that the Maple Leafs will need to free up cap space to make significant roster additions this offseason, and this has led many fans and pundits to imagine monster trades involving either or both of Tavares and teammate Mitch Marner. On top of that in Marek’s scenario, Utah HC would need to have the cap space to take on Tavares’ $11 M annual salary for the last year of his current deal.

While I don’t doubt Tavares would look good in the new colours and logo unveiled by Utah Hockey Club on Thursday evening, I’m expecting to see him with the Maple Leafs on his chest for 2024-25.