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Analyzing the Proposed Monster Leafs and Flames Trade in Marner

In a recent Toronto Maple Leafs untouchable post, I cited a proposed trade that suggested Toronto traded Mitch Marner to Calgary. Sportsnet’s Ryan Dixon proposed the deal and wrote that the Calgary Flames would get Marner, center Fraser Minten, winger Nick Robertson, and defenseman Timothy Liljegren. In exchange, the Maple Leafs will receive goaltender Jacob Markstrom and defenseman Rasmus Andersson. In the deal, the Flames will keep 25 percent of Markstrom’s remaining salary. By many standards, this would be considered a monster commercial in the blockbuster arena.

That said, does it make sense?

Why Toronto and Calgary Are Both Considering This Move

Dixon explained that both Markstrom and Andersson are under contract for two more seasons. The cost certainty would be a huge plus for the Maple Leafs, filling two areas of need at an affordable price. He notes that the Flames will be adding a goaltender who had decent numbers and a right-shooting defenseman who plays big minutes. The total cost for both players under the terms of Dixon’s proposed deal would be $9.05 million, of course $1.85 million less than Marner is paid.

Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs (Jess Starr/Hockey Writers)

He also said the emergence of 2023 first-round pick Easton Cowan and the development of Matthew Knies will allow the Leafs to move Robertson and Minten without too much worry.

Dixon also argues that Calgary’s recent trades suggest it isn’t inclined toward a complete rebuild. Marner, now three decades old, gives the franchise a speedy star who can’t score. Letting go of Andersson hurts, but Liljegren helps solidify a pair down low and is still young, which GM Craig Conroy likes. Robertson and Minten are both solid prospects. This trade package reflects Calgary’s intent to bolster its current and future roster with players who can make an immediate impact.

The Realities of These Exchanges Happen

While Dixon makes some valid points, the truth is, there are a few things that have to happen for a trade like this to go anywhere close. First, Marner must waive his no-trade, no-movement clause to go to Calgary. When you look at where they are in terms of being a contender, that seems unlikely. The tax implications of a long-term signing in Calgary are better than in Toronto, but there are other teams in a better position to stand out and as a low-tax destination Marner is likely to be considered first. Dallas, Florida, Tampa Bay, and Nashville all rank among the best places to play from an income tax perspective. This doesn’t mean anyone is interested, just that these may be the teams Marner is looking at before considering the Flames.

Related: NHL rumors: Maple Leafs, Senators, Bruins, Oilers

At that point, Markstrom would have to agree to waive his no-trade clause to join the Maple Leafs. He was willing to commit to New Jersey, but it’s unclear if he’ll be open to another team, especially one that’s more prominent. In Toronto, he will be seen as a big part of the puzzle and a down season could be disastrous.

Calgary May Think Twice About Marner

As wild as it may sound for the Flames not to be interested in a talent like Marner, like Toronto, Calgary is a hockey town. The team is getting a lot of attention and if Marner is going to move, it’s reasonable to think he’d choose to fly under the radar for a while, especially if a new long-term contract puts more pressure on him to play in the playoffs. . He won’t do that with the Flames. It would be up to him to get them into the semi-finals. He wouldn’t have Auston Matthews and/or William Nylander to relieve some of that burden.

This assumes the Flames and GM Craig Conroy are open to meeting his contract demands. The team is already dealing with the consequences of overpaying Jonathan Huberdeau. Does Calgary want two top players with consistency issues eating up more than $20 million in salary cap space?

Conroy doesn’t need two no-trade deals off his books as he tries to retool the roster of longtime contenders.

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