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One Of the Core Four In Toronto Might Be Getting Shopped


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Austin Sabourin
May 30, 2023  (1:26 PM)
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The upcoming season may bring significant changes to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Speculation has been swirling regarding the franchise's plans for their 'core four' players. According to reports, team president Brendan Shanahan personally reached out to Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Auston Matthews, and John Tavares to express his desire to retain all four players for the 2023-24 season. However, with the appointment of a new general manager expected within the next 7-10 days, the situation could take a different turn.

Suppose Nylander ends up being the centerpiece of a potential team overhaul. In that case, one hypothetical trade scenario worth considering involves sending him to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Joel Eriksson-Ek.
From the Maple Leafs' perspective, this trade offers an opportunity to shake things up. By parting ways with Nylander, Toronto could bring in Eriksson-Ek, a second-line center signed through the 2028-29 season at a reasonable salary of $5.25 million per year. Notably, Eriksson-Ek lacks trade protection until the 2024-25 season, granting the Leafs the flexibility to potentially move Tavares to the left wing on a permanent basis if they so choose. At 25 years old, Eriksson-Ek delivered an impressive performance last season, tallying 61 points in 78 games while excelling in faceoff wins, nearing the 50% mark. This proposed trade not only provides short-term and long-term financial relief for the Maple Leafs but also enhances their center depth. Swapping one core piece for another, acquiring a 26-year-old player with an appealing contract, would represent a shrewd move for the organization.
Considering the Wild's perspective, Minnesota finds itself lacking depth on the right wing, a void that Nylander could swiftly fill. Nylander has often been relegated to second-line duties and the second power play unit in Toronto, but a move to the Wild would undoubtedly grant him first-line minutes. The prospect of pairing Nylander alongside Kirill Kaprizov on the top line presents a promising recipe for success in Minnesota. Nylander is coming off a career-best season, amassing 87 points in 82 games. With the likes of Sam Steel, Frederik Gaudreau, and Ryan Hartman available down the middle, the Wild possess the necessary center depth to facilitate the departure of Eriksson-Ek.

NHL players in this story
John Tavares
Mitch Marner
Ryan Hartman
Sam Steel
Kirill Kaprizov
William Nylander
Auston Matthews
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One Of the Core Four In Toronto Might Be Getting Shopped

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