Report: Maple Leafs Have Plan In Mind For Approaching Mitch Marner On Trade

The Mitch Marner talk won't be abating anytime soon, as reports have the star playmaker not in any hurry to leave his hometown, and that the Toronto Maple Leafs may have to let the upcoming season ride for a while as Marner plays out the final year of his contract. 

The latest report on Sunday, however, comes from beat writer Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, who indicates that the Leafs have a plan as to if and when they'll approach Marner on a potential trade:

Here’s the plan, much as there is one: The Leafs have basically let it be known in the hockey world they are in trade mode... 

The NHL knows it’s open season on Marner offers. How often is a 95-point, penalty-killing winger available? The Leafs won’t put the cart before the horse here. They will listen. If one of the offers meets their needs, then — and only then — will they involve Marner in the process and try to convince him why it’s in his best interest to look elsewhere.

In other words, they won't upset the apple cart with Marner and his teammates until it's absolutely necessary. After all, the 27-year-old winger still has to go out there and help the team have a great season, to get in good position for a playoff run—a run that may or may not include him, however.

With a full no-movement clause, Marner really holds all the cards anyways. Even if GM Brad Treliving does get an offer he can't refuse, Marner just might refuse it if it's to a location not of his liking. 

The Leafs are definitely focused on building a better defense, from the goal on out, but it's kinda tough with that $46 million or so tied up in four players (and we all know who those four are). They also would like to re-sign impeding UFAs Max Domi and Tyler Bertuzzi, as well as likely re-signing extension-eligible defenseman Jake McCabe. All of that will quickly eat away most of the $18 million or so in cap space they currently have.

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