Toronto Maple Leafs: Massively Missing Mitch Marner

The Toronto Maple Leafs unbelievable hotstreak came to an end this weekend, partially due to the fact that Mitch Marner was unable to play because of an injury.

The Toronto Maple Leafs went down to the Wild on Saturday night despite a fantastic effort that saw them come from behind to erase a three-goal deficit.  Losing in a shoot-out doesn’t really matter, and this game was more satisfying than many that ultimately end up in the W column.

Then last night, playing without Marner, and traveling internationally on a road back-to-back, the Leafs went down to Winnipeg.

Frankly, who cares?  The Leafs have been playing out of their minds, and in both of these games they turned what could have been blowouts into competitive games, despite missing one of their best players.

Last night’s game, against a rested opponent, while playing an AHL goalie, missing their second best player, and have to play two games in two nights in two countries, both on the road, is completely meaningless.   The only thing that really matters about last night is if Rasmus Sandin is miraculously unhurt or if he’s out for the rest of the season.

Toronto Maple Leafs and Mitch Marner

As for Mitch Marner, he was injured in Friday’s practice when he collided with Jake Muzzin.  According to Elliotte Friedman, the Toronto Maple Leafs will “be careful” with Marner and not rush him back.  He will be re-evaluated once the team is back in Toronto today.

Hilariously, Marner’s injury has led to some of the stupidest conspiracy theories I’ve ever heard.  Honestly, what is wrong with people?  They will invent , or subsequently believe, the most idiotic things.  It’s funny, but also sad.

I heard (or rather read) several people suggesting he left the team in a huff after fighting with Muzzing.  Other’s posited the equally likely theory that he was bitten by a werewolf and will never play in the NHL again.  (OK No one actually said that, but it’s clearly the least idiotic theory out there).

Teammates (and co-workers) argue all the time. Nothing wrong with a couple of guys getting heated in practice, and no one has ever sat out an NHL game because their feelings were hurt or because of an on-going feud.

Marner missed the games because he’s hurt, and because the Leafs are destroying everything in their path and have no need to risk the health of a superstar forward who is key to any success they may eventually have.

If Marner played, the Leafs probably win at least one of these games – who knows? The only thing that we do know is that there is no more to this story.  A player got hurt, the end.

Marner’s production this year has been lower than expected (21 points in 26 games) but this really misrepresents his play because he’s been excellent, but results-wise has been a little unlucky. (all stats naturalstattrick.com).

Other than a period early last month when the Leafs played Vegas, Boston and Tampa, where Marner had nine points in three games, his production has been off.

But his play has been as good as ever.  Marner has a 54% Corsi and a 57% expected-goals rating. These numbers are as good or better than anything he’s ever posted, so expect him to heat up eventually and score at a 100 point pace, once again.

He isn’t expected to miss much time.