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What else is there left to say on this, honestly?

While taking in some World Junior Showcase action over the weekend, as most GMs are want to do, Kyle Dubas sat down with TSN’s Tessa Bonhomme to cover a myriad of topics pertaining to the Leafs. That’s perfectly fine, right? I mean, we’re deep into the dead months of the summer, absolutely nothing of consequence is happening, and yet everyone (ourselves included) still needs that sweet, sweet content.

So, let’s just talk some puck!

It was never meant to be that simple, of course. Roughly three minutes in, the conversation quickly and inevitably shifted over to everyone’s favourite well-tread topic of Mitch Marner, focusing entirely on the 21-year-old’s ongoing contract talks with Dubas and the Maple Leafs that now appear destined to drag on continuously until the sun envelops the earth and extinguishes all human life.

On the bright side, though, at least we won’t have to talk about this nonsense anymore when that happens. We’ll all be dead.

In providing an “update” on his discussions with Mitch himself Darren Ferris and Paul Marner, Dubas managed to reaffirm more or less exactly what the bulk of the hockey world has been fully aware of for the entire summer: Things are at a standstill.

“Is there any progress? Or can you give us any updates on what’s taking there?” quizzed Bonhomme.

“It’s just, really, the status quo at this point,” Dubas replied.

“And I think the reality is that it’s the status quo with all these types of players throughout the league. There doesn’t seem to be anything really transpiring. And when it gets into August it’s kind of into a bit of a slog where there doesn’t seem to be any real progress, so you don’t even hear of any progress in any of the other situations. Hopefully, as the calendar begins to turn, we can begin to get it towards a spot where he’s ready to go for training camp” 

So, there you have it. Nothing has changed on the Marner front. Everything is the same. Life goes on.

Dubas even referred to the situation – accurately, I might add – as a “slog”, albeit doing so while offering Leaf fans a smidge of solace in the fact that this seems to be the case for all other RFAs currently engaging in their own sagas around the league.

Marner may be responsible for more headlines than the rest of the bunch, but a good number of equally prevalent (and arguably better) names like Brayden Point and Mikko Rantanen, along with lesser contributors in Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor (score two for Winnipeg!), Zack Werenski, Matthew Tkachuk, Brock Boeser, Travis Konecny, and Charlie McAvoy all lack contracts at the moment and find themselves immersed in situations with no real end in sight.

These are all very important players, mind you. Some (not Mitch) are even the faces of their respective franchises, carrying their team’s hopes of contention and Stanley Cup glory upon their brittle teenage shoulders. The fact that nearly half of the NHL’s entire youth movement is just floating around aimlessly in the ether with less than a month until training camps open should raise every possible red flag.

I mean, they can’t ALL sit out, right?

“We were sure hopeful to have it done in the spring,” continued Dubas on Marner, stating the obvious.

“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that. And so we’ll just keep working at it and working at it with Darren Ferris and with Mitch. Obviously, he’s a huge part of what we do in every regard and we’re hopeful he’s going to be a Leaf for a very, very long time.”

And with that; the battle wages on.

Marner will continue to champion for money that every conceivable metric under the sun demonstrates he hasn’t earned, and the Maple Leafs will continue their collective refusal to cripple their cap situation to sign a player who will inevitably cave by mid-September anyway.

The NHL Offseason: Catch the Fever™!

Hopefully, the next Marner update will bring forth some information most fans haven’t already known since mid-April.


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