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Will the Maple Leafs break up the Core 4?

Mark Blinch / National Hockey League / Getty

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The Maple Leafs recently came up short in another Game 7 against the Bruins, marking the 18th time in 19 years they've failed to make the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Another great regular season quickly ending with playoff disappointment has many calling for major change. And it seems like they'll get it.

The question is: How drastic will the changes be?

The first shoe dropped Thursday when Toronto fired head coach Sheldon Keefe despite a two-year contract extension set to begin in 2024-25. If that's any indication of what's to come, we could be in for a busy summer.

For the first time, Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan didn't shoot down the idea of moving one of the team's core players. That was one of the many notable takeaways from Friday's press conference featuring Shanahan, GM Brad Treliving, and MLSE CEO Keith Pelley.

There's a difference between "considering everything," as Shanahan put it, and actually following through, but this time around feels different.

Auston Matthews is the best scorer in the league and signed through 2027-28. Meanwhile, William Nylander is coming off a career-best campaign, and his massive eight-year extension kicks in next season. That tells us those two are safe.

John Tavares and Mitch Marner don't appear to have the same kind of security. Although they both have no-movement clauses (NMC), they're also entering the final year of their respective deals, with extensions looking extremely unlikely.

Perhaps the Maple Leafs can convince one of them to waive his NMC in order for the team and player to cleanly move on.

What do you think: Is time up on the Core Four? theScore Bet is offering +550 odds on any of Marner, Matthews, Nylander, or Tavares being traded by Oct. 1, 2024.

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