Could the Maple Leafs part ways with Mitch Marner this offseason?

Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Two
Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Two / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages

With the Toronto Maple Leafs game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday night, they immediately switched to off-season mode and what changes could be made. Several questions surround the organization after the devastating loss, focused primarily around the coaching staff and the roster. Who is coming back and who is in danger of not returning?

Are the Maple Leafs and Mitch Marner ready to go separate ways?

With another first round exit, the Maple Leafs can sit and question everything about the series but the truth is the organization needs to make some much needed changes. Head Coach Sheldon Keefe may be out of a job and forward Marner has started to gain attention as the roster may look much different next season. Marner has been rumored to be on the outs and with the game 7 loss, now may be a good time for Toronto to start over.

Marner has a contract for next season that will see him earn $10.903 for the 2024-25 season. That is a problem considering Toronto has $14.145 million in cap space. With 10 forwards, four defensemen, and one goaltender signed for next season, there are holes that need to be filled and little cap space to do so. Marner has been one of the more offensively consistent Maple Leafs players since his NHL debut. he is one of the top two players in point production and averages close to a point-per-game in his career. This season, he recorded 26 goals and 59 assists for 85 points in 69 games. His offense is elite but he is also a good two-way player.

Toronto General Manager Brad Treliving has his work cut out for himself. With little cap space, he has a number of players who need contracts for next season and the season after. With the season now over for the Maple Leafs, they now have unrestricted free agents Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi, Joel Edmundson, Mark Giordano, Ilya Lyubushkin, Ilya Samsonov, Martin Jones, and Matt Murray. Restricted free agents include Connor Dewar, Nick Robertson, and Timothy Liljegren. As if that were not enough for this off-season, next off-season RFAs looks like Matthew Knies, Pontus Holmberg and Joseph Woll, while the UFAs are John Tavares and Marner.

Marner has been in talks to be moved for a bit now and this could be the time to move him to open up some cap space to fill out the roster. Treliving could let most of the free agents walk this off-season and next but he also needs to fill out the roster at some point. Toronto could use this time to trade Marner, who has a no-movement clause, which he would have to waive, and get a nice return for his services. The defense needs an upgrade and so does the goaltending. Marner could garner a defenseman, a goaltender, picks, and prospects of dealt to the right team. With Marner's point production and skill set, there is no shortage of teams that would be interested. However, more than one thing has to fall into place for a big deal to go down.

Teams interested have to be able to afford the contract of Marner, which could be a sticking point, along with his no-movement clause. Teams that have cap space in the 2024-25 season that could get him include the Carolina Hurricanes ($44.26 million), Detroit Red Wings ($26.5), and the Los Angeles Kings ($23.6). The Kings and Red Wings are also rich in prospects to make a big splash, which could put them as front runners if a deal is made. The question is would this be enough to at least interest in a Marner trade?

Of every UFA and RFA this off-season, no player would garner the interest, and return, that Marner will either this off-season or next. He does have a year left and a no-movement clause, however, so there may have to be a sign and trade to get a deal done. The rest of the Maple Leafs roster is in need of a fix or they come back nest seasson with the same roster that could have the same result. Is Auton Matthews getting traded? No. John Tavares? Not a chance. William Nylander? He just signed a big deal. Next is Marner, who could have played his last game in Torotno on Saturday. Regardless of if he gets moved or not, Treliving has a massive off-season ahead of him to make this team a serious Stanley Cup contender. This will not be easy but at some point this roster needs to be turned around. Too many questions around this team as to the roster and head coaching position need to be addressed before it is too late. Marner may be the first domino to fall but it could land Toronto some key pieces moving forward.