A new month means a new Artemi Panarin trade scenario. While the last one was more about getting Panarin back with a player who he had chemistry with in Ryan Strome, this scenario is much different. This one has been floated around by many fans from both teams involved. This scenario involves the Rangers trading Panarin to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Mitch Marner.
While there could be other assets involved in the deal, this piece will only focus on the two-star players. We are going to explore why the Rangers would do it and why the Leafs would do it. Both of these players now have sections of their fanbase hating on them due to poor playoff performances.
With a new general manager in Toronto, could he be willing to make a big splash? While this is unlikely to occur, the offseason is about having fun with crazy scenarios. So, let’s have some fun!
The first question to ask is why the Rangers would consider this trade. Well, they would be saving some salary cap space over the next three years and they would be getting the younger, and arguably, the better player in this deal. Marner is coming off a 99-point season with the Leafs and has two years left on his deal at around $10.9 million.
Panarin has three years left at around $11.6 million. So while they would only have Marner for two more years until they would have to resign him, they would be clearing out a full year of Panarin’s salary and they could use that money to sign Marner or other players who could become available at that time.
Marner is also a different kind of player than Panarin. While they are both playmakers, Marner is faster and more defensively responsible than Panarin who is a giveaway machine. Marner plays on the penalty kill in Toronto and having him on the ice with Mika Zibanejad would make them an effective and dangerous PK duo.
Marner’s speed is also something that the Rangers lack and it was evident in the loss to the Devils. Bringing him in and having him leave players in the dust would be exciting to watch.
Now, why would the Leafs consider this trade? Well, they have one playoff-round victory with their core four players and it has obviously not been working. They need a major shakeup and since they can’t trade Tavares because of his No-Move Clause and they certainly won’t trade Auston Matthews, that leaves only Marner and William Nylander to choose from.
Nylander who be an easier trade, but he only has one year left on his deal and might not sign with the team he’s traded to. Marner has two years left and he currently has no trade protections on his deal until July 1st. So, if the Leafs wanted to move him, they need to do it now. As to why they would want an older Panarin, they need someone of the same caliber in order for the trade to make sense.
A Panarin and Matthews duo could be deadly for the Leafs. Matthews as the shooter getting sweet passes from the Breadman would make Leafs fans excited. Panarin is still an elite player and while he doesn’t have the same speed or PK ability as Marner, he is still an amazing player-maker and could easily hit 100 points playing with the top talent that the Leafs have. It could be a good trade for both teams.
A trade like this would also create major noise not only in the NHL but in the entire sports world. The two biggest markets in the NHL making a blockbuster trade involving two of their most elite players would be great publicity for the teams involved and the NHL. Everyone would be talking about this deal and we would all look back on it years from now to see who won the deal and how it impacted the teams going forward.
Again, this is just a major hypothetical and will probably never happen. It seems more likely now that the core players in Toronto are sticking around and that Panarin won’t be traded because of his NMC. Either way, this is a fun scenario to think about and just seeing the reactions to fans from both sides would make the deal worth it.