Mitchell Marner agreed to a six-year, $65.3 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday. It has an average annual value of almost $10.9 million.
"It's great to be over with and I'm happy to be here," Marner said Saturday. "I'm excited to be part of this team. Obviously seeing this roster and everything that's happened in the summer time, it looks like a great team and hopefully I can contribute to that and help out."
Toronto held its first on-ice practice of training camp Friday. Marner, who was a restricted free agent, had said he would not attend camp without a contract.
"Me and [general manager Kyle Dubas] were talking before and I expressed to him that I didn't want to miss training camp, I didn't want to miss games, and that goes back from middle of last year for this process," Marner said. "Kind of the last 48 hours or so, we sat in a room and talked to each other and made sure that I wasn't going to miss too much of training camp and be ready to play the first game."
[RELATED: Marner contract ends more than year of speculation | NHL Free Agent Tracker]
The 22-year-old forward had NHL career highs in goals (26), assists (68) and points (94), and was plus-22 in 82 regular-season games with the Maple Leafs last season, ranking fourth in the NHL in assists and 11th in points. He had four points (two goals, two assists) in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games.
"I'm from Toronto, I live here and I play here as well," Marner said. "There's pressure in that always. You don't think about it, you just go out there and play hockey like I have my whole life.
"We have a great [team] here, the training staff as well and everything else. They're going to make sure that every night you come out ready to play and ready for the games. As a player, I want to make sure every night I'm ready to play, no matter whom I'm up against, the minutes or everything like that, that every time you're on the ice you try and make something happen and try to win."
The contract ended months of speculation about Marner's future in Toronto. The Maple Leafs have signed Marner, Auston Matthews, William Nylander and John Tavares to lucrative contracts since July 1, 2018.
"I think to our whole organization, it means a lot," Dubas said. "It's one of the things we looked at when going through decisions we had to make with different players. I understand people will look and say no team has done it this way before, but that said, we have these guys committed to us for an extended period and we'll get into a stretch here where we can just come to the rink every day and play. We won't have any of this hovering above us."
Video: TOR@BOS, Gm1: Marner scores after hitting both posts
Selected No. 4 by Toronto in the 2015 NHL Draft, Marner has 224 points (67 goals, 157 assists) in 241 regular-season games and 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 20 playoff games. Marner, entering his fourth NHL season, has increased his goals, assists and points in each of the past two seasons.
"We got a commitment from Mitch for six years and that should be as he enters his prime and then goes into his prime," Dubas said. "The way we evaluate things, and I know not everybody is going to agree, I think Mitch would want more and we'd want it less, but it's something we both agree on and can move ahead with. The way we evaluate things, we think all the contracts we signed, that the players with their production and output will match their level of pay, and we all hope they exceed it, which sets them up well for their next contract."
Marner is the first to sign from a group of high-profile restricted free agent forwards that includes forwards Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets, Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks, and Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames.