The Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs do make sense as trade partners, but not for Mitch Marner

We all know that the Toronto Maple Leafs are not going to let another first round loss sit well. They're going to make big changes to their core this summer. A core that includes some really high end talent.
Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Five
Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Five / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages
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Another year, another Toronto Maple Leafs first round playoff loss. Since the league skipped the entire 2004-05 season due to lockout, the Leafs have won just one playoff series.

That win came last year, when they finally slayed the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round - before a quick 5-game thrashing from the Florida Panthers ended their hopes in the second round.

This would be acceptable in a lot of circumstances. Heck, in Columbus, we know all about having a terrible team. Our plight is strikingly similar to that of the Leafs: we've won just one playoff series in our entire existence.

The difference is, the media circus in Toronto puts so much pressure on that team to win the Stanley Cup every year; that they drown out any level of patience surrounding their franchise.

So, as we enter another summer where they came up short, the Leafs seem to finally be ready to tinker with their "core 4" up front.

Right off the hop, there are two players that seem to be untouchable. Auston Matthews is truly one of the game's most elite players, and he's signed for the next four seasons. The Leafs are wise to try to build around him.

William Nylander recently signed an 8-year extension that kicks in this summer - then promptly had a career-best 98 point season. They are also wise to hang onto the gamebreaking winger.

That leaves us with their other two core players. A lot of people assume that Mitch Marner could be the odd man out here, and that may be the case. He has one more year on his contract before he'll become an unrestricted free agent.

But he's still young, just barely turning 27 years old. The asking price in return for him if he's made available is going to be through the roof. As it should be - this is a guy who has 639 points in 576 career NHL games. And he's still got several prime years left.

Which is why I think the correct play for the Leafs here is to hold onto him, and keep him as part of their core (though it would be on par for them to move him, only to have him flourish and win somewhere else).

The fact that Marner is a winger - as well as the likely high asking price here (I expect it to be high, but the proposed trade in this article is really absurd) - would probably price the Jackets well out of contention.

All of this got me thinking about the captain of the Leafs: John Tavares. Wouldn't he be a more obvious potential trade piece for a team looking to free up cap space and fill holes elsewhere in the lineup?

He's entering the last year of his contract, and will be 34 when next season starts, so how many good years does he really have left?

And, what would a trade look like? I have an idea...