Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Johnston provides update on Marner contract negotiations

It’s August and that usually means a completely dead period in the world of the NHL, but this summer, it’s filled with contract speculations for young restricted free agents waiting to sign their second contract.

As of right now, it’s fairly quiet on all fronts, but Chris Johnston was able to do the Toronto media rounds and give a slight update on Mitch Marner’s current contract situation.

The 22-year-old winger’s next contract seems to be all that Leafs fans are able to talk about as of late. Luckily, there’s even new things to argue about.

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According to Johnston, there is no desire from either side to let this ride out into the regular season and especially let this go until the signing deadline of December 1st. Looking at how that affected William Nylander’s season last year, having Marner miss training camp and sign a lucrative contract to have a disappointing season due to lack of fitness would be worst case scenario for the young forward.

As it has been speculated for a while now, Marner will most likely end up with a contract that doesn’t represent any comparable players around the league for a winger coming out of their entry-level contract.

Depending on what the term is, the deal will range from either a $8-million or up to a $11-million cap hit — the former being a term around three years, and the latter a six or seven-year deal.

Whether it’s a bridge or buying some unrestricted free agency years, the overall sense is that Marner will no doubt be in Toronto to start the regular season in October.

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Johnston continues to say that he believes that the Leafs have recently moved closer to what Marner and his agent, Darren Ferris, has been requesting. That could either mean an eventual overpayment and yet another contract negotiation that doesn’t give any benefit for the team’s future cap structure.

No matter what happens, Marner remaining a Leaf signals the philosophy that GM Kyle Dubas and the rest of the Leafs’ management wants to spread throughout their team. To give elite forwards the contracts that they deserve and try to find discounts or deals for defencemen — all-in on offence.

Marner is coming out of a season where he scored 94 points next to one of the best centres in the entire league, while Matthews is able to score goals at whim and Nylander is an elite play-driving winger — these players make sense to keep together and try to find success with.

They will be able to make the money work. With the David Clarkson acquisition and about $10.5-million wrapped-up in Long-Term Injury Reserve to extend their cap ceiling, Marner will be able to sign a deal that should work for both the team and the player.

This saga might be done before the season starts and the present core of the Leafs will be signed for long-term — no more contract sagas and no more worrying about negotiations.

Finally we can just start thinking about the game itself.

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  • magesticRAGE

    I get the mantra of offense first and Puck possession, but overpaying for players because they decide to hold their team hostage, I can’t get down with that. I mean, he didn’t even drive his own line! If he doesn’t really want to be a leaf, I’m sure a player like Ehlers would, or even a Keller trade. He is not irreplaceable.

  • I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s not possible for the Leafs to sign Marner right now for anything more than $5.45 million. I’ve heard the notion floated that bringing in Clarkson somehow opens up off-season cap space, but this couldn’t be more wrong – it reduces the off-season space. The advantage to having Clarkson on the roster doesn’t take effect until after training camp. There’s no way Marner signs before the first day of the season and Clarkson was brought in to maximize their cap space at that point.

    • Bob Canuck


      I don’t think you are correct about the Leafs being unable to sign Marner for anything more than $5.45 million right now. According to CapFriendly, LTIR can be used in the off-season.

      “Yes, LTIR can be used in the off-season while the 10% off-season cushion is active”. Furthermore, to use the off-season LTIR, “the team must provide doctors proof that the player in question will continue to be injured at the beginning of the regular season for 10 NHL games and 24 calendar days’. Both Horton and Clarkson meet this condition.

      Perhaps I am missing something but it appears that the Clarkson trade provides cap flexibility to the Leafs in the off-season, training camp, and regular season.

  • Rebuild30

    The Toronto Star had a poll asking which Leaf’s player should be paid the most?? The results were”
    Mitch Marner-52%
    John Tavares-27%
    Auston Matthews- 21%

  • Marner_wiz93

    Seeing as marner is the best maple leaf he should be paid the most to be honest with you carry tarves n hyman to career years like every single other players hes played with i take marner over matthews in a heartbeat. Y’all should be asking why matthews is making 11.634 that is what got us in this mess lol