As the playoffs inch closer and closer, the Leafs need all hands on deck for the stretch run. One player they have been missing recently has been Mitch Marner. Marner was injured in a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets where a collision with Boone Jenner didn’t go as planned.
Marner was on the ice today without a non-contact jersey on for the first time since February 15th. Just how big of an addition would he be to the lineup?
Mitch Marner on the ice wearing a regular jersey … first practice with Leafs since injury on Feb. 15
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) February 27, 2017
Before his unfortunate injury, Marner was on pace to stick with the Auston Matthew’s and the Patrik Laine’s of the world. His point totals were right up there with the rest of them. Now that he is set to return in short order, the Leafs team should immediately become more dynamic.
48 points in 56 games isn’t anything to scoff at and his points per game put him in some truly elite company around the league. His shot differential numbers are a net positive as well, which is reassuring when bringing along a young player.
Shifting certain players down into better roles and once again putting Marner in a place to succeed, will allow the team to engage more offensively. Surprisingly without him, they haven’t missed too much of a beat. They’ve continued to put up some wins despite his strong play.
He’s a difference maker and his presence has been missed but it is encouraging to see the team doing well in his absence.
He almost played this past Saturday and has a strong chance of playing in their next game. Who will end up coming out of the lineup? How will this end up changing the Leafs deadline approach, if at all?
It only makes his return that much more intriguing. Lots of questions and very few answers. Those in Leafs land should be happy though that this former London Knight is once again ready for battle.