Why Marner Trade Talk to Predators Has Picked Up Steam

Why Marner Trade Talk to Predators Has Picked Up Steam

Over the past 48 hours, speculation has been ramping up involving two teams and a blockbuster trade — the Toronto Maple Leafs and Nashville Predators. Nothing has changed in terms of Mitch Marner’s stance that he wants to remain with the Maple Leafs, and Predators’ GM Barry Trotz is still interested in re-signing goaltender Juuse Saros. But, reports are that a trade between the Leafs and Predators is possible, and potentially already being discussed.

Our own Spencer Lazary posted about the idea of a Marner-for-Saros (plus pieces) swap more than a week ago. He liked the fit, arguing:

Ultimately, it could be the leading factor in the Maple Leafs one day winning the Stanley Cup, which wouldn’t make this trade a ‘loss”. This is the exact reason why Treliving should give the Predators a call and pitch a Marner for Saros deal, as it helps both sides find the potential missing pieces.

In recent days, there has been a lot more chatter about the idea of these two teams working together. David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period and NHL Network reported, “I believe Nashville – at some point – has been one of the teams that have said, ‘if you consider moving him, give us a call.’” Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star is also writing about these two franchises possibly talking trade business.

Why Is a Marner to Nashville Trade Picking Up Steam?

Several trade proposals are out there. Teams like Columbus, Calgary, Anaheim, and others have been brought up in connection with Marner, and trade scenarios are all over the Internet. That said, most have certain issues that make those trades unlikely. This potential trade removes many of the same issues that plagued the other deals, the biggest issue being Marner’s willingness or hesitation to go there.

There are no cap issues for the Predators that other teams have to deal with. They don’t have to convince Saros to waive a no-trade, and they have the room now to bring in Marner and ultimately sign him to an extension if he’s agreeable. The Leafs wouldn’t need to retain salary to make the trade work, which is huge.

The Predators need a player like Marner, while they also have the flexibility to move Saros — seeing as Yaroslav Arskarov is potentially ready for a starting role. Trotz wants to sign Saros, but he’s not afraid to move him and the Maple Leafs may need a legitimate NHL goalie considering Ilya Samsonov and Martin Jones will be gone and GM Brad Treliving publicly commented about Joseph Woll’s storied injury history.

Nashville is considered a preferred destination for players. The city is fantastic, the vibe is awesome, and the team is often contending, even if they aren’t seen as Stanley Cup favorites. It’s a place for Marner to be appreciated but also fly under the radar a bit. There are talented pieces there he can work with in Filip Forsberg and former teammate Ryan O’Reilly and the team would add around him, without much issue attracting solid free agents.

Does a Woll and Saros Tandem Make Sense?

The big question is how a tandem of Woll and Saros works for Toronto. Off the hop, it should be universally agreed that the duo is better than that of Woll and Samsonov. Beyond that, it becomes about the long-term plans for both Saros and Woll. Will Saros agree to stay on a possible 1B? Can Woll stay healthy enough to assume the starting role on a regular basis? It’s the latter that is the bigger concern this offseason.

For the Maple Leafs, knowing what to expect for next season is priority No. 1. Signing Saros is a bridge the Leafs can cross when they get there. But, as far as 2024-25 goes, he’ll be a key piece of the Leafs puzzle. Goaltending will be a need next season and a Saros and Woll tandem addresses it.

This is a Maple Leafs team that wants to contend next season. Even without Marner on the roster, it’s going to be an expectation from management. Saros will help them do that. It removes any doubt about Woll’s injury issues, it gives the Leafs cap space to make other moves, and this trade may be one of the fewer trades the Leafs may come out of relatively unscathed.

It’s for these reasons insiders are starting to talk more about this deal than any others that have been tossed out there to see what sticks.

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