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Report: Maple Leafs' core told they're unlikely to be moved

Mark Blinch / National Hockey League / Getty

Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan informed the club's core forwards they're unlikely to be moved, TSN's Chris Johnston reported on "Insider Trading."

The futures of John Tavares, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander have been in question since they failed to make an impact in Toronto's second-round disappointment against the Florida Panthers, but they're all expected back for the 2023-34 campaign, Johnston adds.

Speculation of a potentially franchise-altering trade whirled after former general manager Kyle Dubas said nothing is off the table for the Leafs this offseason, but the direction of the organization is now in limbo after Shanahan announced last week that Dubas won't be re-signed.

The Leafs are in the process of finding a new GM, and whoever is brought in would have to work swiftly to orchestrate a trade. Matthews and Marner have full no-move clauses as of July 1, while Nylander will submit a 10-team no-trade list.

Tavares has had a full NMC since signing with Toronto in 2018 and has been considered the least likely to be moved as the eldest of the bunch. He's under contract for two more seasons at $11 million per.

Matthews and Nylander are entering the final years of their respective contracts before hitting unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2024. Matthews said in his end-of-season media availability that he hopes to ink an extension with the Leafs before the start of next season.

Marner is a free agent in 2025.

The star quartet occupy nearly 50% of the Leafs' salary-cap structure, and keeping them together was a defining trait of Dubas, who famously stated "we can and we will" retain Matthews, Marner, and Nylander after inking Tavares to a seven-year, $77-million contract.

Tavares, Matthews, Marner, and Nylander have been the Leafs' top four scorers each season since 2019-20, but they have only won one playoff series together - this year against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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