Ring the church bells, send the smoke up through the chimney of the ACC, the Leafs have signed the next saviour of the franchise.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) July 28, 2015
This was something that seemed inevitable, but when Travis Dermott signed before Marner there was a hilarious panic through a small section of Leafs Nation that looks even more unwarranted today.
So let’s breakdown what the Leafs did. They signed their best unsigned player and that’s incredibly good. It’s entirely possible that Marner could be one of the top players we see in the blue and white in the next decade so there’s absolutely nothing to hate about it.
The details are not yet available, but we’ll update with them as soon as possible, but it’s likely that Marner is receiving the maximum salary and signing bonus allowed under the CBA, and he’ll also have a shot at a number of performance bonuses, which may actually matter in this case because he’s a very good hockey player and could meet those targets. The deal is also a three year deal, because that’s pretty much how this works.
As for next season none of this really matters as Marner is likely to return to London, and spend the season developing as a center. He could possibly see a handful of games with the Leafs at the beginning of the year, but all signs point to wanting him to develop in junior which means he’ll likely also play a key role on Team Canada during the World Juniors this season.
If you haven’t heard enough on Marner in the past few weeks, here’s a brief refresher from Justin Fisher’s article when Mitch was drafted:
Marner was excellent for the London Knights this season, forming one of the most dangerous lines in the OHL (and probably all of the CHL) with Max Domi and Christian Dvorak. In 63 games, Marner scored 44 goals and 126 points, good for second in the league behind Erie’s Dylan Strome. In fact, Strome only passed Marner on the final night of the regular season with four goal, six point effort. I’m sure Marner would be quick to remind you that he played five fewer games than his friend and rival.
For his efforts, the scouts slotted Marner pretty high in their pre-draft rankings. McKeen’s and Corey Pronman ranked him 3rd, while Future Considerations had him 5th. NHL Central Scouting ranked him 6th amongst North American skaters, which is unusually low in relation to other scouting services.
It feels a bit like the start of an era in Toronto, so no pressure Mitch.