Skip to Main Content
free agency

Marner talks with Maple Leafs 'bit of a slog,' like rest of NHL

Little contract movement for forward, other restricted free agents

by Mike Battaglino / Staff Writer

Mitchell Marner and the Toronto Maple Leafs remain at a similar state in their contract negotiation, which general manager Kyle Dubas said Saturday is no different than many restricted free agents in the NHL.

"It's just really the status quo at this point," Dubas told 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."

Marner is one of several high-profile restricted free agents who remain without a contract more than a month after being eligible to sign one.


[RELATED: Top unsigned restricted free agents]


Winnipeg Jets forwards Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor, Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk, Colorado Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point, and Vancouver Canucks forward Brock Boeser are among those who have not signed.

Forward Sebastian Aho is the only restricted free agent to receive an offer sheet since becoming eligible July 1 (the Carolina Hurricanes matched the five-year, $42.27 million contract tendered by the Montreal Canadiens).

Marner (11th), Point (12th), Rantanen (17th) and Aho (21st) were among the top 21 in points last season, and Connor was 26th and Tkachuk was 28th in goals.

The Athletic reported this week it is believed the other players are waiting for Marner's potential contract to set the market.

Video: TOR@BOS, Gm1: Marner pots second goal on penalty shot

Marner, who turned 22 on May 5, had NHL career highs in goals (26), assists (68), points (94) and rating (plus-22) in 82 games last season.

"Obviously, he's a huge part of what we do in every regard and we're hopeful he's going to be a Leaf for a very, very long time," Dubas said. "So we'll just keep working away at it and see what happens."

The Athletic reported that Marner may be seeking a contract similar to the one teammate Auston Matthews signed in February (five years, $11.6 million per season). The website said Toronto may want to offer a three-year, six-year or seven-year deal, with the term in part designed to avoid conflicts with other contracts when they come to an end.

"Hopefully as the calendar begins to turn, we can begin to get it towards a spot where he's ready to go for training camp," Dubas said. "I mean, we were sure hopeful to have it done in the spring, unfortunately we weren't able to do that, and so we'll just keep working at it, working with (agent) Darren Ferris and working with Mitch. …

"I'm confident. I'm optimistic, so I'll stay that way until the end."

View More