Toronto Maple Leafs Overpaid for Mitch Marner

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 23: Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs looks on during the Game Seven of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on April 23, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 23: Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs looks on during the Game Seven of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on April 23, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

Mitch Marner has signed a six year contract extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Last night, the Toronto Maple Leafs finally put an end to an oft-discussed stalemate with Mitch Marner.

At around 7 p.m. EST, news broke that the had agreed to terms with Marner on a six year extension with a $10.893 cap hit.

With the deal in place, the Leafs have finally locked up their core players for the next half-decade.

Toronto Maple Leafs Sign Marner

In my opinion, the Toronto Maple Leafs overpaid for Marner’s services in a negotiation that they clearly lost to the player.

It severely impacts their ability to add any help given the cap constraints and Dubas’ negotiation abilities have shown to be a mixed bag. To top it off, the pressure is now squarely set on the core to make progress with a big price tag on their heads.

That’s the reality of the situation the team is heading in, and they seem to be fine with it as Brendan Shanahan implied back in May. When you’re a team that is in contention for the Stanley Cup, chances are you won’t have a lot of cap space to work with.

No doubt the Leafs would have loved to have this deal done during the summer or even during the draft, but it was going to be a challenge no matter how you slice it.

It didn’t help that Marner’s agent has a reputation of going through these types of negotiations with his clients and that his dad may have had a hand at the table.

A media circus became the result of all this and caused a headache for all parties involved, reaching a climax when reports came out on Wednesday that Marner rejected an $11 AAV offer.

Whatever happened between then and now appeared to play a factor in how an agreement was decisively reached, even if it was to a hefty contract.

If you’re going to overpay someone on your roster, it’s better to do so for a marquee talent than a fringe player. Which is why as much as the Leafs management may internally be partially disappointed with the term they gave Marner, they could also take solace in the fact that an important presence in the locker room and on the ice remains in the fold.

Throughout the entire process, Marner’s reputation with Leafs fans has plummeted dramatically. He went from being seen as a cherished, happy-go-lucky guy to a discourteous player who seemed to only care about his bank account and ego.

Considering the fact that a large sticking point in these consultations appeared to be the deals both Auston Matthews and John Tavares received, it’s understandable in a sense why some fans got emotional throughout these past few months.

Given how critical these players are to the team’s success and the uncharted territory the franchise is in compared to recent history, there was a lot at stake in the Marner talks.

With his new deal locked up, there is a lot of mixed reactions ranging from pure elation to bitterness over the end result. It appears that not everyone is ready to forgive Marner since the entire trial took quite a toll on his reputation and image amongst Leafs Nation.

Marner Madness

My perspective on Marner has not changed once during and after Friday’s announcement, chiefly due to the fact that RFA negotiations take time and I knew a resolution would be reached. This is obviously not going to be the same for everyone reading this, but that’s what being human is all about. We are all unique and have our own approaches to dealing with stuff like this.

What I think we can all agree on is that it is relieving to no longer deal with the headache and focus on hockey instead of fretting over contracts.

And focus on hockey we must, because now there is ample pressure being placed on Marner and the rest of the Leafs roster. As alluded to above, the window for contention appears to now be officially open and the core will have the next five years to try and make the most of it.

Marner now has quite the big target on him to try and build off last season’s success. Playing alongside Tavares saw his offensive numbers dramatically improve to the upper echelon of the NHL. Building off a 94 point campaign is no easy tasks, so it’s now up to Marner to prove that it was not a fluke and that he’s just getting started.

Proving his contract was worth the overspending is how he will win some of the Leafs fanbase back in his court. Heck, even being part of the team that ends the curse people keep talking about will wash away any lingering of doubt.

After all, winning cures all wounds. However, things could just as easily fall off the rails and his numbers could regress in a noticeable way, leaving many people irate and appalled by the annual salary he was given from Dubas.

Right now, it’s too early to draw conclusions on the fallout of this deal being reached and how it will impact the team going forward. All parties involved are taking their first steps down this path into the unknown in which the ramifications will not be fully realized until years down the line.

This entire ordeal will either be remembered as a mere footnote in an era of winning or a catalyst towards the deconstruction of a top-flighted roster. It could mean the difference between a core being memorialized fondly or with the ingrained thought of “what-if.”

Marner and the rest of the Leafs won’t have to worry about that just yet. Right now it’s about concentrating on building off last year and progressing towards their goal of raising the Stanley Cup.

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All stats unless otherwise noted are from

All salary numbers are from Cap Friendly.

And with these negotiations now in the rearview mirror, it will be much easier to fixate on arriving at the desired destination.