Canucks linked with trade for Leafs three-time All-Star Mitch Marner

Speculation suggests Mitch Marner is the top-six quality winger the Vancouver Canucks are looking for, but what's the case for and against such a trade?
Toronto Maple Leafs v Vancouver Canucks
Toronto Maple Leafs v Vancouver Canucks / Derek Cain/GettyImages

Vancouver Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin is determined -- in fact almost obsessed -- to build on the success of this season, which means strengthening the roster. Among his main priorities, is to add a quality top-six winger.

The top name doing the rounds is Jake Guentzel, who will become a free agent on July 1 and undoubtedly be in demand. In this respect, the Canucks obviously need to consider other options to be on the safe side.

There have been plenty of players linked to the Canucks, including Sam Reinhart (pending unrestricted) and Martin Necas (pending restricted), but one name arguably stands out among all others. As per The Athletic's Thomas Drance and Harman Dayal, one of the main studs available on the trade market is none other than Mitch Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Marner has it all

On a very basic level, Marner would be just what the Canucks need to boost their top six. He is an exceptional passer and solid scorer, who plays on both the power play and penalty kill, and is good for 80+ points per season (with 100-point potential).

Helping the situation, is that the Leafs are apparently all but done with their 'core-four' of Auston Matthews, William Nylander, John Tavares and Marner, albeit the latter two specifically. In the case of Marner, speculation includes the organisation being interested in trading him during this offseason. (Although, as per Sportsnet, NHL insider Frank Seravalli believes if a trade's going to happen, it will actually be as soon as this week.)

This will be easier said than done, with the three-time All-Star only having one season left before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. As much as the Leafs would of course like to get a decent return package, this will likely be compromised given the remaining length of his current deal.

In this respect, it could involve whichever team acquires Marner getting him to agree to a contract extension as a part of any trade, in order for them to offer a better return package to the Leafs. However, this scenario in itself would present an issue for the Canucks.

Contract demands will be tough for the Canucks to justify

Consider that the final year of Marner's current contract has a cap hit of $10.903 million, which you assume he will want an increase on. Elias Pettersson currently has the highest annual cap hit on the Canucks, at $11.6 million per season.

As most Canucks fans are aware, the organisation is already struggling to find enough money to bring back as many of their nine (remaining) pending free agents as possible. And even the likes of Nikita Zadorov and Elias Lindholm are not asking for anywhere close to as much as Marner is getting now, never mind how much more he will theoretically want.

There is a school of thought that Marner will struggle to get a pay rise, no matter where he ends up with his next deal. However, as much as this would be a smart collective decision by NHL teams, the reality is that at least one organisation is going to offer up the necessary/requested money.

Ironically, the one team which might be able to get the 2015 fourth overall draft pick to remain status quo, and perhaps even accept slightly less, is his current employer. Marner has stated many times he would prefer to remain in Toronto.

In addition, as per Leafs Nation's Mike Gould, Darren Dreger of TSN recently claimed Leafs general manager Brad Treliving would prefer to extend Marner as opposed to trading him. In reality it's tough to determine what's true; Treliving might want this out there to get other teams to offer more in a potential trade, while it's been claimed before (without proof mind) that Dreger has connections to Marner.

Next. Canucks have assets to help in pursuit of upgrades but it's risky. Canucks have assets to help in pursuit of upgrades but it's risky. dark

Overall, the more you delve into this, the less likely (and appealing) a move for Marner becomes. While the Canucks do have the quality of assets required to entice the Leafs, it just seems like there's too much to lose/give up in order to trade for a player who could effectively be a one-year rental.

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