It was a bitter end to a great season for Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner. The star forward led the Leafs and finished fourth in the NHL in scoring with 67 points in 55 games.
But the Stanley Cup playoffs are a different beast, and Marner managed zero goals and four assists in seven games before he and the Leafs were bounced from the postseason in the first round by the rival Montreal Canadiens.
Marner has now played 18 straight playoff games without scoring a goal — his last coming in Game 1 of the Leafs’ 2019 first-round series with Boston — and the pitchforks are out in full force in Leafs Nation.
The franchise’s almost supernatural ability to find a way to lose over the last several decades is not Marner’s fault. But the team’s failure to advance in the playoffs despite a great regular season has the hockey world buzzing with trade rumors. And oddsmakers are wondering whether Marner could end up somewhere else to start next season.
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Check out Mitch Marner odds in the chart below:
Mitch Marner Odds: Where will the star Maple Leaf play next season?
|Toronto Maple Leafs||-400|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+775|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+950|
|New Jersey Devils||+950|
Odds as of June 7 at Bovada
Will Marner be traded? If so, where?
Toronto Maple Leafs (-400)
At -400, Marner’s implied odds of staying with his hometown team sit at 80 percent, and we agree with oddsmakers. Although he has become the whipping boy for Leafs fans since the team’s season ended, his contract makes him a difficult player to get a great return for in a deal.
The Leafs are built to win now. They are right up against the salary cap, they don’t have a great prospect pool and their stock of draft picks is depleted – they have only six total selections over the next two drafts.
And while a theoretical Marner deal could replenish that war chest, it doesn’t make sense to trade the winger for several smaller pieces if the goal is to win a Stanley Cup in the next few years.
The Leafs would almost certainly need an equally great player (or two not quite as great players) in any deal. How many other teams have a superstar player they’re willing to part with for the sake of bringing in the guy with the league’s seventh-highest cap hit, who is being traded because he can’t get it done in the playoffs?
We just don’t see that scenario being particularly likely.
Nashville Predators (+775)
Fans and media in Nashville have been throwing around trade scenarios in recent days, but as with several other teams with the best Mitch Marner odds, the Preds don’t have that one great piece to make a deal attractive to the Leafs.
A combination of Ryan Ellis and Filip Forsberg, or something similar, is not likely enough.
Vegas Golden Knights (+775)
Mitch Marner odds list the Golden Knights as a potential landing spot as a team that is squarely within its Stanley Cup window that could be looking to add another star player. But what goes back the other way?
Would the Leafs be interested in young, recent first-round picks like Peyton Krebs or Cody Glass? Likely not as they don’t help the “now.”
The Knights are also a cap team, so any deal would need to include significant money going back to Toronto. Would the Leafs be interested in goalie Robin Lehner? He would solidify a tandem with Jack Campbell, but a package including Lehner, a winger like Reilly Smith and picks or prospects for Marner creates that issue of not giving the Leafs that one great piece. It also isn’t likely that the Golden Knights would be thrilled with having 36-year-old Marc-Andre Fleury as their only NHL-level goalie.
Vegas isn’t trading cornerstone pieces like Mark Stone or Shea Theodore, so it’s hard to see the Leafs being interested in a deal unless they want to trade their dollar for three quarters.
Columbus Blue Jackets (+950)
Fans of both the Leafs and Blue Jackets have been speculating about a potential trade as both teams have star players in tenuous situations. Columbus defenseman Seth Jones informed the team he does not intend to sign an extension after his contract ends following the next season, so it is fair to conclude the Jackets will trade Jones at some point.
And while logically there seems to be a 1-for-1 fit here – the kind of deal Leafs GM Kyle Dubas might be interested in – there are a couple of issues.
First, Jones has a modified no-trade clause in his contract that lets him submit a list of 10 teams he cannot be traded to. It is not clear how he would feel about Toronto as a destination.
Secondly, Jones is coming off a poor season in which he posted a second-percentile wins above replacement percentage (WAR%) and his team had a 45.52 expected goals for percentage (xGF%) at even strength with him on the ice. That xGF% ranked him 144th out of 171 defensemen who played more than 500 minutes this season.
We know Dubas values analytics, so Jones might not be a player he is particularly interested in.
Long shot: Buffalo Sabres
Not even listed by Bovada in this bet, the Sabres are an off-the-board pick we could see entering this conversation at some point.
Maybe more than any player in the league, disgruntled Sabres captain Jack Eichel is all but finished in Buffalo and is the kind of talent that would satisfy the Leafs’ need to get a win-now player in a Marner deal.
In a vacuum, the trade works. But there are issues. Would divisional rivals make a franchise-altering deal? Likely not. Do the Leafs need another center with Auston Matthews and John Tavares on the roster? Also no.
Eichel’s health situation also makes the deal tricky. For now, Mitch Marner odds don’t include Buffalo for those reasons.
Best Bet: Toronto Maple Leafs
For now, the best bet in Mitch Marner betting odds is the Maple Leafs. There are certainly several teams that would be interested in the young star, but there are not many players of his caliber out there whose teams are also looking to deal them.
There are many teams that could put together a great package of players, prospects or picks. It is just a question of whether the Leafs would want a package like that.
For now, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
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