While the summer months continue to pass by quickly, the contract impasse between Mitch Marner and the Toronto Maple Leafs doesn’t seem to be moving in a similar fashion.
“It's just really the status quo at this point,” team general manager Kyle Dubas stated on TSN. “And I think the reality is, it's the status quo with all these types of players throughout the league. There doesn't seem to be anything really transpiring, and as it gets into August, it's kind of into a bit of a slog where there doesn't seem to be any real progress, you don't even hear of any progress in any of the other situations.”
And it’s true. Players and clubs are seemingly in negotiation deadlocks all across the NHL. Top-level restricted free agent talents such as Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, Matthew Tkachuk, Brayden Point, Brock Boeser, and Mikko Rantanen are all still without a deal.
Earlier this week, it was reported by James Mirtle of The Athletic that other RFAs are waiting on Marner to ink a deal and set the market. If that is the case, putting together the framework for a deal becomes increasingly difficult for the Buds as there’s no exemplar to follow. Because of this, the ramifications of the 22-year-old’s contract standoff are felt league-wide.
The Athletic additionally stated Marner’s camp was seeking the richest-ever bridge deal. The reported ask from his representation was 3-years, and roughly $10-million per season. Toronto, Mirtle claimed, is offering “just under $9-million to roughly $11-million per season, depending on the term.”
Although it seems as though the RFA market is moving at a slow crawl, that could all change very quickly. It’s only a contract stalemate until one side decides it’s not.
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