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Why Easton Cowan shouldn’t be considered an untouchable in trade discussions this summer

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Nick Alberga
1 month ago
For the first time since the Auston Matthews draft, it appears that the Leafs have struck gold with a first round pick.
Easton Cowan, whom Toronto took 28th overall in last year’s draft, is having an incredible season for the OHL’s London Knights. On Wednesday night in Oshawa, the 18-year-old winger notched a goal and three helpers to lead the Knights to a 7-1 victory and a four-game sweep of the Generals in the OHL Final. For his efforts, Cowan took home Playoff MVP honours to go along with the regular season MVP award he captured a few weeks ago. For the record, the last two players to duplicate that feat were Mitch Marner and Connor McDavid —putting Cowan in some pretty elite company.
Next up for London – by the way – is the Memorial Cup, which gets underway on May 24th.
While there’s no question that the Strathroy native has a bright future, believe it or not, it could make the most sense for Toronto to use Cowan as a potential trade-chip this summer.
In terms of trade currency, outside of Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly, who both come equipped with full no movement clauses, the Leafs don’t have much to work with to strike a deal of significance.
In more ways than one, Cowan’s extremely valuable to them.
If someone approaches them with a deal that includes Cowan in the return and it improves the roster tenfold, it would be foolish not to contemplate accepting it.  Indisputably, he shouldn’t be deemed as an untouchable, and if the right deal comes along, Brad Treliving and company should 100% pull the trigger on it.
Even though there’s no question Cowan will push for a full-time roster spot as early as this fall, it’s unlikely he’ll reach the height of his potential for a few years —at best. On top of that, there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to make an impact in the NHL immediately. And when it comes to young prospects, you don’t want to make the mistake of rushing them along. Just look at how Montreal handled Jesperi Kotkaniemi.
Any way you slice it, the Leafs should be trying to win now —not later. If that ultimately has to come at the expense of dealing one of their top prospects, then so be it.

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