Should the Vegas Golden Knights trade for this Toronto Maple Leafs star?

Rumors are swirling about a Toronto Maple Leafs star possibly being traded to the Vegas Golden Knights. Should the Golden Knights bite on the trade?
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Four
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Four / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

Rumors are a funny thing in the NHL sphere. One day, your team could be in the running for players like Steven Stamkos or Sam Reinhart. The next day, there could be rumors of trading for a 100-point forward. The hockey realm is always entertaining, especially for top teams like the Vegas Golden Knights. There's never a day when such rumors connect top players to top teams.

But the latest rumor has Golden Knights fans torn. The rumored player is a superstar on the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are in turmoil after yet another first-round exit. With Maple Leafs fans losing their collective minds, it might be time for a major shake-up in Ontario. As for the player? He regularly flirts with 100 points the way a dude endlessly flirts (and mostly fails) at a club.

The player in question? Mitch Marner, who will be in the last year of his current six-year, $65.408 million deal with the Maple Leafs. The Golden Knights are in win-now mode, looking for another Stanley Cup to add to their collection.

But is Toronto's alternate captain the right player for the job? Would the Golden Knights give up a king's ransom for Marner's services (for a year, at that)? It's an interesting conundrum that hasn't torn people apart since the days of pineapple on pizza. It's time to examine the feasibility of Vegas bringing on the superstar forward.

What Mitch Marner brings to the Vegas Golden Knights

What doesn't he bring to the Vegas Golden Knights? Mitch Marner is an absolute wrecking ball in the regular season, notching 85 points this season. In fact, he's come close to 100 points in the past three seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. While most of the attention is on Auston Matthews, Marner has earned considerable praise for his on-ice work.

That also translates well in the playoffs, where he's scored 11 goals and 39 assists in 57 career playoff games. People will point at the Maple Leafs teams during his career and say they underachieved. Yes, this is true. But Marner has grown into a good playoff performer aside from this season (one goal, two assists in seven games against Boston). Although Marner wasn't developed into a playoff performer, Toronto's postseason problems stemmed from another issue (lack of coaching, trade deadline acquisitions not showing up).

As for his skill set, Marner brings a lot to the table. He's efficient and relentless on the forecheck, taking the puck away whenever he can. At times, he'll seem like a more offensively adept version of Alex Pietrangelo, playing solid defense. Throw in superior hand-eye coordination and a league-best shot and the Golden Knights have good reason to add the Maple Leafs superstar to the mix.

What would it cost to get Mitch Marner?

Let's be honest. Almost every team would chomp at the bit to bring in Mitch Marner. That includes the Vegas Golden Knights, who might lose a superstar of their own (only to free agency this offseason). So why not bring in a younger talent to fit in with the current Golden Knights roster?

Well, that's the complicated part. For one, that would require giving up two superstars since Marner's a cap hit of $10.903 million. With a team full of salary cap heavyweights like Jack Eichel and Mark Stone, it wouldn't help to give up two players minimum to get the Markham native.

One player that would come to mind is Shea Theodore, who's in the last year of his current seven-year, $36.4 million deal. With a cap hit of $5.2 million, it would take a chunk out of the salary cap issues the Vegas Golden Knights are having.

Other players mentioned include Nicolas Roy, who shouldn't be traded at all. The young forward has grown his game with the Golden Knights and would hurt the forward depth even more. So why not another defenseman like Brayden McNabb? The native of Davidson, Ontario, is in the last season of his current three-year, $8.55 million deal. He carries a cap hit of $2.85 million, which would help with the cost.

Kelly McCrimmon's ace in the hole

Kelly McCrimmon's ace in the hole isn't a particular player. It's not even a set monetary value. McCrimmon can have other teams retain money, making the deal work for Vegas. It happened with Noah Hanifin's trade (the Calgary Flames retained 50% of his salary). and it also happened with Anthony Mantha's trade (the Washington Capitals retained 50% of his salary).

While it won't solve everything for the Vegas Golden Knights, deferring money to other teams helped land Mantha, Hanifin, and Hertl. If the Golden Knights were to acquire the Markham native, there would be some money saved on the deal. Granted, the trade would also come at the expense of a first-round pick. However, that's a sacrifice McCrimmon hasn't been afraid of making.

Although the deal isn't likely to happen because Vegas has other priorities, it's something that fans can dream about. Marner would certainly be a game-changer for the Golden Knights, catapulting them to the realm of Stanley Cup favorites. But could Vegas sacrifice forward depth in a notably barren prospect system? Crazier things have happened, which has led to a Stanley Cup.