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“Sheldon Keefe was careful with Mitch Marner because of his sensitivity”
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You know the drill: the core four probably can’t survive long-term in Toronto. With William Nylander and Auston Matthews signed for several years, these are the two Ontarians most at risk of leaving.

John Tavares and Mitch Marner will be free in a year’s time, and if the club wants to clean house now, we suspect Marner will be the one to be traded. His ugly streak has been the talk of the town, and I don’t think clubs will be jumping on Tavares.

What’s more, I get the feeling that the Leafs are comfortable losing Tavares for nothing in a year’s time, but that’s not the case with Marner.

All this to say that the rumours are flying and we should expect Marner to leave this summer. I can’t see the Maple Leafs not capitalizing on his market value.

I truly believe that he will be traded this summer and that a new long-term contract will have been negotiated prior to the transaction. Will it be Chicago? Vegas? Utah? The possibilities are endless.

On the heels of these rumours, Elliotte Friedman shed new light on Marner’s career in Toronto.

According to what the informant told “The Leafs Nation” podcast recently, Sheldon Keefe was more cautious with Marner than with a guy like Nylander, for example. Why is that? Because he’s sometimes more sensitive.

Those are big words. After all, the Toronto market isn’t exactly small and merciful to its star players.

We’ve seen it in the playoffs: when things go badly for him, the Toronto Sun is all over him. Maybe that’s why Keefe felt the need to “protect” Marner a little, given his experience under Mike Babcock?

If Marner were to start next season in Toronto, how would it work with Craig Berube? The two men have chatted recently, but may never work together in the end.

Officially, Marner says he’s ready to play out the last year of his contract in Toronto. But will it happen?

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