Monday, May 6, 2024

Rumors Fly As Blackhawks Consider Trading Seth Jones For Superstar Forward

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For each team that isn’t still playing meaningful hockey, the month of May can be a period where wild rumors run rampant and fans and insiders alike speculate on whether teams could move their biggest stars. That list of teams obviously includes the Blackhawks, who finished with the second-worst record in the NHL. As of Saturday night, it also includes the Toronto Maple Leafs, who were eliminated by the Bruins in a critical game-seven matchup.

The most consistently talked-about player in Toronto when it comes to trade talks is perennial all-star Mitch Marner. The 27-year-old forward has one year left on his contract, which will be worth $10.903 million next season. With the current agenda clearly not working for the Maple Leafs, it’s time to make a change, and many have described a trade of Marner to be “inevitable” this summer.

On Monday’s “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman suggested that Marner could waive his no-move clause in order to play out the last year of his deal somewhere else. That “somewhere else”, Friedman says, could be the Blackhawks.

With the Blackhawks’ abundance of cap space and need for high-level scoring ability, they’re in a prime position to make the Leafs an offer. With one of the trickiest cap situations in the league, including Marner’s massive cap hit, cap space is likely the No. 1 factor in picking a trade partner for Toronto as they aim for more flexibility. Chicago could take on Marner’s entire contract next year as they attempt to reach the cap floor.

Additionally, Friedman suggested that the Maple Leafs will get a defenseman in trading Marner at all costs. He tossed out a familiar name in considering possible candidates.

“I was wondering about a guy like Seth Jones. If Chicago is going to keep losing, I wonder how Jones feels… I’m curious to see how he would feel about them and how they would feel about him. Jones has kind of indicated that losing isn’t very easy on him.”

– Elliotte Friedman

Thoughts on Jones’ dissatisfaction with the rebuilding Blackhawks are far from baseless. After the final game of the Blackhawks’ season, he was asked about playing on a rebuilding team and didn’t hold back.

“I’ve just tried to be positive to the media and understand the situation we’re in as an organization. But I have not been happy by any stretch of the imagination.”

– Seth Jones

While Jones gets plenty of hate for having what the public sees as one of the worst contracts in the league, there’s no question he’s a supremely talented blueliner in the prime of his career. The Leafs likely don’t want to commit $9.5 million to a defenseman for several more years, even if it’s $1.4 million less than they would be paying Marner. Still, the Blackhawks have more cap space than they know what to do with. Would they be willing to retain a chunk of Jones’s contract? Hampering their own cap space for that many years isn’t entirely realistic, but it’s still something to keep in mind as Toronto inevitably seeks trade partners for Marner.

It takes some imagination to envision a deal between the two sides, but in a pivotal summer for both teams, all bets are off. The Leafs aren’t too likely to strike a deal for Jones, but he’ll certainly be one candidate as they look to get rid of Marner in the next few months.

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