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4 Leafs’ trade targets should the Vegas Golden Knights pursue Mitch Marner

Shea Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo of the Vegas Golden Knights.
Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Seney
1 month ago
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving is going to do whatever it takes this offseason to upgrade his hockey club, which means approaching Mitch Marner about waiving his no-movement clause could be on the table.
The Marner saga has swept the Maple Leafs’ offseason rumour mill and this week it took off in a major way. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was a guest on Leafs Morning Take and offered up that the Vegas Golden Knights could be a team that gets involved in the Marner trade discussions. Golden Knights’ GM Kelly McCrimmon is known as an executive who likes to be included in superstar trade talks. We’ve seen time and time again big bold moves out of Vegas, could acquiring Marner be McCrimmon’s 2024 summer blockbuster?
If Marner agrees to waive his no-movement clause to join the Golden Knights, here are the trade targets Treliving should be considering in the package coming north:

Shea Theodore

The 28-year-old former first-round pick is one of the most consistent defensemen in the league. Theodore’s offensive awareness and hockey IQ would be a huge addition not only to the Leafs’ blue line but also to their power play. He finished last season with 42 points in 47 games and 15 of those points came on the power play. Adding Theodore would allow the Leafs to take Morgan Rielly off their first power-play unit and it would give them a legitimate top-four defenceman and someone who has experience playing the right side, meaning he could play with Rielly if needed.
Theodore has one season left on his contract at $5.2 million and does hold a modified no-trade clause, however, it’s only against five teams. The Maple Leafs are likely making the cut.
In any trade, there’s risk involved and for Theodore it’s health. He’s never played more than 79 games in a season and hasn’t played more than 55 games in the past two seasons. Another risk here is the fact he’s only signed for one season. Moving Marner is going to be complicated and Treliving should ensure there’s some team security in the players coming back the other way. The Leafs should be trying to sign the blueliner to a contract extension before pulling the trigger, and it’s likely Vegas would want to do the same.
Theodore’s won a Stanley Cup, he’s performed at a high level during the Golden Knights postseason run and can put up points in a hurry. He’s certainly someone who Treliving should be asking about if Marner is on his way to becoming a Golden Knight.

Alex Pietrangelo

Speaking of Golden Knights’ defencemen, perhaps there’s no one more complete player than Pietrangelo. The King City, ON native can do it all, playing big minutes in all situations in Vegas. Oh, and he just so happens to have a lengthy relationship with Craig Berube from their days together winning a Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues.
Pietrangelo is arguably the perfect trade target for the Maple Leafs this offseason. He’d know what to expect out of Berube, he’s won a Cup, he plays in all situations and is a top-pair defenceman who also happens to be right-handed. Adding Pietrangelo to the blue line in Toronto immediately is a massive upgrade and he could instantly become the best defenseman the team has seen in at least a decade.
Risk involved? Of course, there is and there’s also a no-movement clause in Pietrangelo’s contract which certainly doesn’t make things easy. While he and his family have gone through a lot in Vegas together, perhaps playing for the Maple Leafs and his old coach is something that he’d be willing to consider. Another aspect of risk in this trade is the contract. Pietrangelo is 34 turning 35 in January of next year and has three years left on his deal at $8.8 million. The only thing is, the Leafs are trying to win now. Their window is open, Auston Matthews is signed for four more seasons and it’s essentially now or never in Toronto. So adding a veteran in the late stages of his career shouldn’t scare Treliving, especially when it’s a player of Pietrangelo’s calibre.
The Golden Knights defenceman recorded 33 points in 64 games last season and the previous season put up 54 points in 73 games. When it came to special teams, he led Vegas in ice time. Pietrangelo has shown over the years he knows what it takes to win, and his proven leadership is something Toronto’s dressing room could use more of, especially if one of their beloved teammates Marner, is shown the door.

Adin Hill or Logan Thompson

The Golden Knights have an assortment of trade targets who could interest Treliving and that includes both their goaltenders Adin Hill and Logan Thompson.
Again, there is lots of risk involved as both haven’t had the best track record of staying healthy, which is the same thing that can be said about the Maple Leafs’ Joseph Woll. An injury-prone tandem? Not ideal.
Regardless, Thompson and Hill have shown they are more than capable of handling the load and winning hockey games when they are healthy enough to play. Hill’s run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs a couple of seasons ago was magical and he helped lead the Golden Knights to hoisting Lord Stanley.
Both he and Thompson are signed for next season and then can become an unrestricted free agent. Hill makes $4.9 million against the cap and owns a five-team no-trade list, meanwhile the southpaw Thompson is one year younger, owed just $766,677 and doesn’t have any trade protection. If the Leafs started next season with Woll and Thompson both making $766,677 against the cap, they’d have the cheapest duo in the league and it wouldn’t even be close.
Treliving should try to land Thompson over Hill just based on the dollars making sense and while the left-handed netminder shouldn’t be the focal point of the trade, he should be included with one of Theodore or Pietrangelo. An honorary trade target mention goes out to Ivan Barbashev. The pesky winger has four seasons left on his contract at $5 million AAV and could be a nice replacement for the Leafs top-six should Marner be moved and the potential of Tyler Bertuzzi signing elsewhere. He can play either wing, hits everything that moves, is familiar with Berube from their days together with the Blues and proved last postseason, he knows what it takes to win a Stanley Cup.
Nevertheless, Marner holds all the cards and if he wants to remain a Maple Leaf for the 2024-25 season, he’s within his right to do so. Treliving can talk to McCrimmon all they want, but to say a trade between these two teams would be complicated is a massive understatement. There’s no denying the fact the Golden Knights have a number of players who could fit in nicely with the Maple Leafs. It’s just all going to come down to where Marner wants to play next season.

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