If you’re a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs, there’s no way that all of the Mitch Marner chatter you’ve been hearing this summer isn’t starting to make your stomach turn.
The fact that the 22-year-old restricted free agent is still sans contract has some people concerned and this appears to be for a few reasons. First of all, the guy can play and has proven to be a large part of the team’s success. He’s led the squad in scoring the last two campaigns, including a career-best 26-goal, 94-point season in 2018-19. Secondly, they saw a talented scorer sit half of last year due to contract negotiations.
*Cough* William Nylander *Cough*.
The wounds are fresh and, as a result, it’s difficult to trust anyone that says all will turn out just fine this time around. However, maybe hearing it from one of Marner’s regular linemates will help.
“I think Mitch knows that I am there for him whenever he needs it,” John Tavares told TSN recently. “But you want to respect his situation and his process and the way they’re going about it."
“You know there’s a lot of restricted free agents unsigned still, lots of guys that are in similar position to him. There’s still some time here and I think we all believe the right thing will happen and something will get worked out. I think that’s what both sides obviously want. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer than others...”
Leafs nation can hopefully take some comfort in the words of their gigantic 2018 offseason signing and the fact that they aren’t alone.
Marner is one of many elite restricted free agents yet to put pen to paper with their teams over a month after having the ability to do so. In fact, Sebastian Aho officially staying with the Carolina Hurricanes at the beginning of July following an offer sheet from the Montreal Canadians is one of the few prime examples of a big-name RFA agreeing to a contract this summer.
Brock Boeser in Vancouver, Brayden Point in Tampa Bay, Matthew Tkachuk in Calgary, Mikko Rantanen in Colorado, as well as Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor in Winnipeg are all currently in the same boat as Marner.
And although it’s a month until Leafs training camp opens in St. John’s, this isn’t a boat that’s taking on water just yet. So, let’s jump out of the life rafts and enjoy the rest of the voyage, shall we?
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