With the Mitch Marner All-Star Invitational this weekend in Toronto, we finally had a chance to hear from the Maple Leafs winger for what seems like the first time since the Leafs were eliminated.
Of course, the talk of the summer has been all of the young RFAs in need of contracts, with Marner being at the forefront due to all of the conversation of offer sheets, and wanting Auston Matthews money.
Yesterday, Marner paid a visit to Tim & Sid to mostly promote his event, but he wasn’t going to escape without some questions about the negotiations.
However, he really just said a lot of nothing in the interviews. When asked about the contract negotiation, Mitch said the following.
I mean, it’s still the same as the summer started. My agent’s doing that, I’m leaving it all to him, for me it’s just kind of focusing on this event and just trying to get better this summer for next year.
He was also asked about important it was to stay in the city of Toronto.
It’s the place I grew up, this place that I’d love to get back to and help out as many people as I can, and hopefully something works out.
Yeah, this is pretty much typical hockey player responses, especially when he knows he isn’t really allowed to say anything about the negotiation. He knows he’s there to plug his event, and leave his agent to do all of the contract talks, as he specified multiple times in the interview.
The interesting bit from this interview, if there is any, is the “hopefully something works out” line. It sure makes it sound like he’s less convinced that something will get done. This could either mean that a) he’s just not getting the kind of offer that he was hoping for, or b) there’s potential that the relationship between Marner’s camp and the Leafs has been strained.
My opinions on the Marner situation are well known. I think he’s a bit nuts for thinking he’s worth Matthews money, because while their offensive output is similar, one is a goal scoring center, and the other is a playmaking winger. Those are just two completely different markets. Also, we’re forgetting that one spent most of his season with Kapanen and Johnsson, and the other spent the entire year stapled to Tavares’ wing.
Personally, I think this whole situation will see Mitch not sign any offer sheets, and then after threatening to go to Europe, he eventually signs for less than he probably could’ve got from the Leafs if he signed before the summer started.
And if we’re talking value, the market is set that his comparables max out at $9.5 million, and considering that the Leafs have just a tad above $9 million in cap space, that’s probably about what he signs to.