Leaf Mitch Marner’s signing to a six-year contract worth just less than $11 million U.S. per season on Friday night, according to multiple reports, ends a contract stalemate extending back to last season.
While Marner’s entry-level contract expired July 1, both the Maple Leafs and the player discussed various scenarios in earnest dating back to June and at various points over the summer.
The lines of communication were always open, but, as in most talks for high-end contracts, progress came at a late hour, with training camp already underway in Newfoundland.
Marner was the Leafs’ leading scorer last season with 26 goals and 68 assists, all career highs.
While Leafs GM Kyle Dubas stated that signing Marner by July 1 was a “priority,” the talks pushed past that date and took on a life of their own.
Auston Matthews signed a five year, $58.17 million — with an average annual value of $11.34 million — back in February, a deal that obviously influenced how the Marner camp approached their new deal.
Several other high profile restricted free agents remain in contract holding patterns, including Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor of the Jets, Mikko Rantanan of the Avalanche, Matt Tkachuk of the Flames and Brayden Point of the Lightning. It was believed Marner’s signing would begin a domino effect where the rest of those contracts would fall into place as well, with Marner’s deal acting as a comparable.
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