Opinion: Let’s dial back the hostility

On Thursday night, Mitch Marner made the following comments to Sportsnet’s Luke Fox regarding the possibility of the Leafs playing all their games in the United States this season:

Or at least, based on the backlash Marner faced in the comments, that’s what you could have sworn he said. Instead, he actually said this:

The quote came as Marner was doing interviews in the lead up to hosting a stream-a-thon for the Marner Assist Fund in support of families with food insecurities. In summary, Marner said that regardless of where the Leafs play he just wants to be around his family and if it comes to not being able to play in Toronto/Canada this season he just hopes it’s somewhere warm. That’s it. That’s the quote.
“Marner” trended for hours in the immediate aftermath of Fox’s tweet, largely driven by (a) the outlandishly negative response and (b) people coming to his aid. This outrage over something so innocuous speaks to the shocking erosion of the relationship between Leafs fans and Marner, much of it self-inflicted by the Marner camp during a contentious and public contract negotiation in summer 2019. Many fans clearly still feel …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

NHL 20 predicts the rest of Mitch Marner’s career

Mitch Marner has had quite the rough start to the 2020 offseason when it comes to speculation regarding his future. There’s quite a lot of differing opinions circulating around, referring back to his contract negotiations, the subsequent season that followed, and what lies ahead for him in Toronto. In fact, two of my TLN colleagues have written pieces on the subject, which you can check out here and here.
While I could give you my take on Marner’s 2019-20 campaign, I decided to take a different approach. Rather than make some bold predictions that could one day end up on @OldTakesExposed, why not use a video game to give a rough idea of how the remainder of his career will turn out.
Inspired by my good friend Matthew Rodrigopulle, who wrote an excellent piece in a similar style on Nick Robertson, today I am going to simulate Marner’s career in NHL 20!
Before we begin, let me cover some ground rules that I will be following.
I am going to make sure I do not control the Leafs roster at all during this simulation in an effort to keep things fair. Prior to starting, I randomly …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Yet another late-game heartbreaker as the Blue Jays drop a winnable series in Boston

Mitch Moreland finally got his revenge for Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS. His two-homer game was the difference against the Blue Jays in the rubber match as the rest of the Red Sox managed just two hits.

Things worth mentioning…

I had hoped heading into the series that facing the Red Sox and their abysmal pitching would help bring the Blue Jays’ bats to life. That didn’t happen. The team managed just eight runs in the three-game series, which is an even lower output than the 3.12 runs-per-game they had rolling into Boston. When you’re facing Ryan Weber, Zack Godley, and Boston’s create-a-player bullpen, that isn’t ideal.
On the positive side, we saw some nice offensive flashes from some key players in Toronto’s lineup. Vlad Jr. had his best series of 2020, picking up four hits, a couple of walks, and a double. He’s now 7-for-21 in August with four extra-base hits. Bo Bichette also had a solid series, hitting a homer in Game 3 while picking up doubles in the first two games. The issue is lower in the order, where Randal Grichuk, Travis Shaw, and Rowdy Tellez haven& …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Mitch Marner nominated for King Clancy Memorial Trophy

It might not be the Selke Award he was going for, but Mitch Marner has the potential to take home some hardware this offseason:

A leader on and off the ice.
Congratulations to @Marner93 on being nominated for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy!#LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/KngeUkI6oK
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 27, 2020

On the award:
King Clancy Memorial Trophy
Description: First awarded in 1987-88, the King Clancy Memorial Trophy is presented annually “to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.”
Voting: Each NHL team submits a nominee for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy. The three finalists and ultimate winner are selected by a committee of senior NHL executives led by Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly.
The selection committee applies the following criteria in determining the finalists and winner of the award:
* Clear and measurable positive impact on the community
* Investment of time and resources
* Commitment to a particular cause or community
* Commitment to the League’s community initiatives
* Creativity of programming
* Use of influence; engagement of others
Marner has been one of the most involved Leafs …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

How Mitch Marner’s Contract Makes the Marlies Even Scarier

The Mitch Marner saga is over. And with that, we can finally focus on hockey again. Hallelujah.
Upon learning of Marner’s extension, I’m going to guess that you didn’t immediately begin to pine over its potential impact on the Toronto Marlies. Some of you might have done this, of course. Just, not the majority.
Regardless, every move — especially those of Marner’s magnitude — carries a trickle-down effect. Where this one trickles down to, among other places is the Marlies.

The nearly-11 million-dollar-sized chunk Marner’s extension took out of the Leafs’ overall cap sheet was foreseen long before it happened. And that chunk will indeed be as large as advertised, at least for the short-term. Adding $10.893 million to an already capped-out lineup now forces the Maple Leafs into entering this season with a 20- or 21-man roster opposed to their typical 23-man outfit from years past. Three different $10 million+ contracts will do that to you, I guess. Sacrifices must be made.
Still, this is not an insignificant restriction. A 21-man roster (and that’s the generous estimate) means two fewer press-box spares; two fewer press-box spares mean two fewer NHL job openings; two fewer NHL job openings …

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Author: Mike Stephens / The Leafs Nation

Looks like we have a roster for the first preseason game

Guess we won’t have to wait too long to see Mitch Marner back in a Leafs uniform…

Mike Babcock said this will be #Leafs game group tomorrow in St. John’s vs Ottawa. They apparently won the team fitness testing. pic.twitter.com/ZuTngpG0Iw
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) September 16, 2019
YAY!!! Players!!!
This roster also provides us with a number of interesting first looks, as Tyson Barrie, Jason Spezza, Jordan Schmaltz, and Kevin Gravel will all make their Leafs debuts. I’m willing to hear debate on how interesting some of those debuts maybe, but Barrie and Spezza are worth the price of admission.
It will also be interesting to see how far some prospects who are challenging for spots on the Leafs are fairing as the game includes Adam Brooks, Mason Marchment, Egor Korshkov, Jeremy Bracco, and Pierre Engvall. Seeing up and comers like Duszak and Lindgren should be interesting as well. Hell we’re so starved for hockey this point I’m not sure I’d complain if the game turns into the Nicholas Baptiste show and we’re watching Marlies for 2/3rds of the game. HOCKEY IS BACK!!!
It also looks like we have something resembling …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Darren Ferris is doing damage control now

Mitch Marner has signed his contract and, barring injury, will be with the Toronto Maple Leafs to start the season. That doesn’t mean that this whole saga is over. Even though we have a player under contract long-term and games on the horizon, there’s still going to be plenty of conversation around everything that transpired over the past few months.

Marner’s agent, Darren Ferris, probably even more so than Marner himself, has really been the face of this contract saga. Ferris’ “Playbook” relies a lot on floating narratives into the mainstream media. Things like Marner speaking to other teams on July 1 and considering playing overseas in Switzerland were a couple of Ferris tactics to generate panic that the restricted free agent had considerable leverage in contract negotiations.
Even though pen has been put to paper and Marner has his money, Ferris’ job isn’t over. There’s a damage control left to be done on behalf of his client after what was a messy, frustrating, and emotionally-draining summer full of public negotiations. While Ferris’ tactics likely helped Marner in securing more cash, it came at the cost of losing admiration from much of the fanbase.
Today on …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

REPORT: Leafs and Marner agree to an extension

After what seemed like centuries, the Mitch Marner saga appears to be over.

Marner 6 years in TOR. Done
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) September 13, 2019

This comes after a long, and I mean long, period where we saw Mitch’s camp and the Leafs go back and forth, with what seemed like very little middle ground.
Numerous problems arose because of it. Mitch only wanted Matthews money. Mitch wanted to be the guy in Toronto. Mitch didn’t like that he didn’t have signing bonuses on his ELC. It seemed like a lot of things were said that shattered the image of the innocent persona that Marner had managed to make in his first few years.
Regardless, he is now signed, and we can finally just enjoy having him play on the Toronto Maple Leafs for at least six years.
Despite all the slander, Marner is far from a bad player. He’s accumulated 224 points so far through his first three seasons, including his 94 point breakout year alongside Tavares this year.

AAV 10.893
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) September 13, 2019

And here’s the AAV. Yikes, that’s still not good. Marner is great and all, and he’ll probably be worth that money in a …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Mitch Marner and his Primary Assist Magic

You may have heard by now that Mitch Marner remains unsigned by the Toronto Maple Leafs as we begin to approach the opening of training camps for the 2019-20 NHL season. There seems to be a gap between how the Marner camp views his value compared to how the Leafs think he should be paid. Marner put up fantastic numbers last year, picking up 94 points and finishing 4th in the NHL with 68 assists. His results were even more impressive at 5v5, where Marner led the NHL in primary assists with 36, five more than Sidney Crosby. Unlike secondary assists, which are mostly luck, primary points are an important, repeatable skill, so Marner putting up the best total in the NHL at 5v5 is quite an accomplishment.
This would seem to set the stage for Marner to get a huge payday. After all, if he can put up the highest rate of primary assists in the NHL then he has a very strong claim to a big salary. However, if you dig into the numbers a bit more deeply, I think there are reasons to be concerned that Marner isn’t going to be able to replicate his fantastic result next season.


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Author: Drag Like Pull / The Leafs Nation

The Case for Bridging Marner

Folks… What can I say, this Mitch Marner fellow is something else. How about those contract demands? Amirite? Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.
Anyway, I’m sorry to say that we are (I am) back on our bullshit, and we’re going to look at bringing the kid back in the short term, at a reduced rate. An idea which carries both benefits, and challenges, so let’s do a good old fashioned SWOT Analysis of the idea of bridging Mitch Marner for three years.
Strengths
Likely to produce the best possible cap hit
Gives the Leafs the opportunity to compensate Marner in three years when guessing potential isn’t in the equation anymore
Presently only have 5 players under contract in 2022-23 and can plan on keeping space available to accommodate a larger cap hit.
Blogs will have lazy summer content ideas again in three years
Weaknesses
Eventually you’ll end up paying him or losing him
Would be negotiating with Kapanen, Rielly, and Marner in the same off-season
Potentially devalues Marner’s place on the team compared to other stars
Mitch may not have enough money to buy Paul Marner the solid gold suit he has his eyes on.
Opportunities
The biggest benefit …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation