During the contract stalemate with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Restricted Free Agent Mitch Marner revealed to TSN’s Darren Dreger that he was walking his dog one day when “I had a 13 year old who yelled at me across the park yelling at me not to sign.”
Maple Leaf’s fan base is among the most passionate in the game, and Leaf fans have been hungry for a Stanley Cup since 1967.
The fact that Marner missed the first day of training camp in a contractual stalemate was a concern to Leaf fans, some of whom believed the winger was more interested in lining their pockets than trying to win a championship at Toronto.
The 22-year-old couldn’t help but feel the sting of Leaf fans across town and on social media as he is from Markham, Ont., Just north of Toronto.
Marner, who was represented by Agent Darren Ferris, said he had personally started to make efforts in recent days to secure a deal.
“I knew we were close,” Marner said. “I just wanted to be a part of it more in the last 48 hours. It happened yesterday and two days ago we were really connected and we got closer and started to really understand everything. “
Marner, who later joined his teammates after missing the opening of training camp in St. John’s, Newfoundland, explained that he told general manager Kyle Dubas how he felt and “what we wanted to do in the future ”.
On Friday, it was announced that Marner had agreed to a six-year extension for $ 65.358 million, all guaranteed, with an average annual value of $ 10.893 million.
Marner said he was “disappointed and furious” at the comments made on social media, especially about his family. Her father, Paul, would have been a major stumbling block to not making a deal sooner.
“I expect this stuff to come to Darren and myself, but you know I’ve seen some comments about my dad and stuff like that that no one will like to see or read,” he said. declared Marner. “It’s quite disappointing to see people commenting on my family and my last name.”
Marner said the contract stalemate between the Leafs and teammate William Nylander last year played a role in his decision to secure a deal before the Dec. 1 deadline.
Nylander signed his overtime, worth an average of $ 6.9 million annually, on the deadline and has struggled for the remainder of the season after missing training camp and the first two months of the regular season.
“I remember when Willy came back, and he was saying how hard it was mentally, physically, not to be with the team.” Marner said. shape and how quickly he had to get back on his feet.
Nylander played 54 games last season, scoring just seven goals and totaling just 27 points.
Marner, who was selected by the Leafs fourth overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, is entering his fourth season with the club.
Marner, who has been the club’s top scorer for two consecutive seasons, tallied 94 points last year with 26 goals and 68 assists, good for 11th in the league. He had 61 points as a rookie and 69 points in his second season.
The skillful playmaker is now the third-highest-paid Maple Leaf behind Auston Matthews ($ 11.634 million) and John Tavares ($ 11 million).
His contract has signing bonuses. In his first two years, he will collect $ 30 million in bonuses.
He will receive a bonus of $ 15.3 million in the first year as well as a base salary of $ 700,000. He will receive a bonus of $ 14.3 million in the second year, as well as $ 700,000 in base salary. The bonus drops to $ 9.608 million in the third year with a base salary of $ 750,000. For the next three years, he will earn an annual bonus of $ 7.25 million as well as $ 750,000 in annual salary.
The Leafs, who haven’t made it past the first round of the playoffs in three straight games, now have three of the seven highest-paid players in the entire NHL.
As the Toronto Star‘s Dave Feschuk wrote: “There has never been an NHL core that has received so much for achieving so little.”
Marner’s signing establishes a window in which the Leafs can hope to compete for the Stanley Cup. The main Leafs forwards are now on long-term contracts: Marner and Tavares until 2025, Matthews and Nylander until 2024. In addition, defenseman Morgan Rielly is locked up until 2023 and goalkeeper Frederik Andersen until 2022.
The problem is, Toronto will have four players (Matthews, Tavares, Nylander, Marner) who will eat more than $ 40 million of the $ 81.5 million of cap space, or roughly 50%.
Compare that to the Boston Bruins, the team that ousted Toronto in the first round of the playoffs for two straight seasons and the team Toronto must pass if they are to come out of their own division.
The Bruins’ top four players total roughly $ 27 million a year. David Krejci makes $ 7.25 million, Patrice Bergeron makes $ 6.87 million, David Pastrnak makes $ 6.66 million and Brad Marchand has a cap of $ 6.12 million.
The fact that the Leafs ‘top-four make $ 40 million, while the Bruins’ top-four earn $ 27 million, puts the Leafs at a disadvantage because Toronto won’t have the flexibility to top the roster with so many high-quality talent. that the Bruins can put together.
With the deal in place, the Leafs are about $ 13 million above the $ 81.5 million salary cap, before any LTIR (Long-Term Injury Reserve) placement, and must be below the cap. by the start of the regular season next month.