Marner hoping Leafs’ Hunter takes another chance on him

Two years ago, Mark Hunter took a gamble in the Ontario Hockey League draft by selecting an undersized Mitchell Marner in the opening round.

Marner was five-foot-six and 125 pounds soaking wet. Hunter, however, saw something in Marner, who finished second in OHL scoring this season with 44 goals and 126 points with the London Knights.

Fast-forward two years later, Marner is now hoping the Toronto Maple Leafs interim co-GM will take the same chance on him when the NHL Draft rolls around on June 26.

From Sportsnet:

“He’s a guy that for sure I’d love playing for again. He’s taught me a lot about hockey, so for me to go back to his team in the NHL would be special for me personally,” Marner said. “We can’t control anything NHL scouts want to do. We just have to go sit in those [draft] chairs and wait our name to be called.”

Marner’s size continues to be a question mark for some NHL scouts. But his tremendous offensive skills make up for that lack of size.

Now standing five-foot-11 and 160 pounds, Marner is drawing comparisons to Patrick Kane — a player he’s idolized and watched growing up.

From NHL.com:

“Patrick Kane, I’ve known about him my whole life. He’s been my role model. He’s a guy I’ve always wanted to image my game after. He’s a special player. I love watching him. Every time he’s on, I’m trying to watch that game and learn from what he does.”

The decision to take a chance on Marner will be even more difficult if the Arizona Coyotes — who are selecting third in the draft — opt to take Boston College blue-liner Noah Hanifin at No. 3. The Leafs would be faced with the decision of selecting OHL scoring champion Dylan Strome or Marner fourth overall.

In Bob MacKenzie’s final prospect rankings, the TSN analyst has Marner ahead of Strome at fourth overall. The two have flip-flopped in the rankings all season long but MacKenzie noted the race between Marner and Strome is very close.

  • silentbob

    I don’t think the Coyotes taking Hanifin is a given, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they take Marner at 3rd overall.

    They were 2nd last in the NHL this year in GF (only 170). They already have one of the top D-men in the NHL and they’ve been taking their time with Gormley. With Yandle gone he’ll most likely get his chance next year. Marners two linemates with the Knights are Coyote prospect. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they decide to add offense instead of defense, and pick the player who is already familiar and has chemistry with two of their better prospects.

  • FlareKnight

    I have no issue if they go with Marner. His skillset is pretty darn great. There can’t be a bad thing to drafting someone that would be a huge part of the future up front.

    Of course I’m pretty happy with drafting a ton of different players.

    At the very least Marner is a great option to take at 4.

  • silentbob

    Based on scouting reports, team needs, BPA, and trading chips, if I were holding Toronto’s ‘cards’ I would try to do this: 4th Marner. Trades for the 5th/11th, 16th and 21st overall, will include the pick and a former 1st rounder roster player under 24. The picks would be Hanifin, or two or three of Zboril, White, 6’3 Guryanov, and with the 24th Jonas Siegenthaler, 2nd 41st/42nd Rasmus Andersson
    = 6 pieces to ‘build’ around
    3rd 6’4 Filip Ahl 84th/86th Vladislav Gavrikov, 4th Sebasian Aho (F) and 6’4 Nicolas Roy 5th Sebasian Aho (D) 6th Conor Garland 7th Kirill Pilipenko
    + Huberdeau-F, 6’3 Klefbom-D, RNH-C, 6’3 Grigorenko-C
    + UFAs 6’3 Soderberg-C, Frolik-F, 6’5 Franson-D

    That’s Defencemen rated OHL 2nd behind Prvrv in a and OHL 2nd behind prvrv in b, and 2 shut-down defencemen named WJ best (not prvrv), the 2 top-ranked as puck-moving. forwards Marner 2nd to McD in PPG, U18 leading scorer, U18 face-off 64%,’magic’ garland, and 2 at 6’4

  • silentbob

    I would drop down a spot or two and take Provorov,
    Leafs need #1 & #2 Defenseman and the only way to get them is to draft them.

    There is a good chance the leafs will get another 1 or 2
    first round picks for Kessel, Phaneuf, & Bozak,

    Defenseman take longer to develop as well so at the start of a rebuild start with defenseman and draft forwards next year.

    The comment I would make with Marner is we have several smallish offensive players, we need some size on our top 3.

    eg Kadri, Nylander, Brown, Brendan Leipsic