Mitchell Marner is exploring the possibility of training in Switzerland if he remains without a contract from the Toronto Maple Leafs. A European representative of the restricted free agent has asked Zurich of the National League if the forward can practice there.
"Whether and when the player will train with Zurich is not decided yet," the team said Tuesday.
Zurich has started its preseason schedule and begins its regular season on Sept. 13, the same day Toronto opens its training camp in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada.
The No. 4 pick by Toronto in the 2015 NHL Draft, Marner led the Maple Leafs with an NHL career-high 94 points (26 goals, 68 assists) in 82 games last season.
He said last month he is staying out of the negotiations but is unlikely to attend Maple Leafs training camp without a contract.
Video: Marner, Marchand land at No. 4 and No. 5 on the list
"Probably not," Marner said at his All-Star Invitational on July 18. "There's so much risk with that and it's just something you don't want to risk. I want to be there for the start of camp, so hopefully something will get done by then."
Darren Dreger of TSN reported Monday that Darren Ferris, the North America-based agent for Marner, and Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas had contract discussions last week, and though the talks were positive, no progress was made.
Marner's Maple Leafs teammate Auston Matthews played for Zurich the season before he was selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.
Marner, who has 224 points (67 goals, 157 assists) in 241 games, is one of several high-profile restricted free agents who remain without a contract, including forwards Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor (Winnipeg Jets), Matthew Tkachuk (Calgary Flames), Mikko Rantanen (Colorado Avalanche), Brayden Point (Tampa Bay Lightning), and Brock Boeser (Vancouver Canucks), and defensemen Charlie McAvoy (Boston Bruins) and Ivan Provorov (Philadelphia Flyers).