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Craig Berube endorses Mitch Marner: ‘I’m looking forward to coaching him’

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Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Arun Srinivasan
22 days ago
Craig Berube immediately met with Mitch Marner upon being hired as the Toronto Maple Leafs and their first encounter, captured by a fan with no qualms about privacy was the Breakfast Heard ‘Round The Greater Toronto Area. During the second day of the 2024 NHL Draft, Berube provided Marner with a ringing endorsement.
“He’s a character guy. He’s a great person. Obviously, a great player. I’m looking forward to coaching him,” Berube said Saturday to Sportsnet’s Luke Fox.
Marner is the No. 1 trade target on Daily Faceoff’s board and his status with the Maple Leafs has arguably been the most sought-after talking point of the offseason. Toronto’s dynamic winger is eligible for an extension and his camp has made it clear that their preference is for Marner to enter the season without an extension and see where the proverbial chips may lie. The organization has endorsed Marner as a player without providing a firm commitment, although the Maple Leafs were reportedly upset by an unsubstantiated rumour that caught traction, which alleged that Marner was heading to the Utah Hockey Club.
Auston Matthews also provided Marner with a rousing endorsement of his character Friday, which is to be expected, given their shared tenures with the club and genuine friendship but still, it goes a long way when the franchise’s resident, untouchable superstar goes to bat for you.
Berube spoke about how he was attracted to the Maple Leafs’ top-end talent when asked about what piqued his interest about the role during his introductory press conference and one would assume that Marner, alongside Matthews and William Nylander, fits into that designation.
“The core player group is great here,” Berube said. “That was definitely one of the attractions to come and coach this team. Watching the playoffs this year with them, there was already that change going on with how they want to be built and play. Talking with Brad (Treliving) and Brendan (Shanahan), we’re on the same page and that’s important. We’ve got some real great players here.”
Marner is two years removed from a Selke nomination and though he wasn’t one of the league’s best defensive forwards in 2023-24, he’s still a top-end penalty killer who is a habitual 90-point scorer entering the peak of his career. The optics of his blown assignment on David Pastrnak during Game 7’s overtime against the Boston Bruins is the lasting image of the season but there’s still an elite player behind the clips and negative splash plays. Berube seems excited about the proposition and frankly, why wouldn’t he be?

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