Earlier today Brendan Shanahan stated that the Leafs "are going to get this done, with this group that we have." While as a fan of the team and a huge supporter of Marner and Matthews to say that is a possibility, here lies the issue. Albert Einstein once said "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results." The duo makes a combined $22,543,250 but are unable to be productive in series clinching games. In series clinching games for the Leafs Auston Matthews has one goal and a total of two points while Marner has just one point. Yes, Nylander is also part of the big four for the Leafs, the bottom line is in the playoffs he showed up.
Trading Auston Matthews is out of the question, and the cap hit of John Tavares is quite difficult, and to think trading Nylander after this post-season would be quite ridiculous, which leaves Mitch Marner. I say this again, I love Mitch as a player.. but with Zach Hyman hitting free agency, requiring a back-up goaltender the $10.9 million in cap-space could be quite useful. Marner is a skilled and exceptional player, which means his value and return could be quite helpful to the team. Since 2016 when Matthews was drafted, Marner and Nylander joined the team, the Leafs have made the playoffs four times and failed to move on past the first round. While this tweaking the roster with the top four of the core could bring different results next year, it could be time for a change.
Kyle Dubas addressed all the needs of the team in depth, defense and goaltending, yet this team could not get the job done when it counted and the fans who are upset have every right to be. I am not saying trading Marner is something that should be done, but it should be explored as an option.