The Toronto Maple Leafs are near the top of the NHL standings, they are winning the vast majority of their games, and if the season ended today, many of their players would be in contention for individual awards.
Other than injuries, all is surprisingly calm and quiet with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The only thing right now that is controversial at all about the Leafs is the speculation that Mitch Marner will be left off Team Canada while players like Tom Wilson and Zach Hyman would make it.
This is ridiculous, and Marner is clearly a lock, but apparently this is a conversation we’re having.
To give you an idea of how crazy an idea that is, I write about the Toronto Maple Leafs nearly every single day of my life, and that’s still the stupidest thing I have ever heard.
I honestly thought it was a joke at first.
Mitch Marner, the guy who was second in 5v5 scoring last year, who had extremely strong defensive results, and who contributes on both special teams? A player who hasn’t peaked, put is trying for his third straight season on pace for over 90 points?
There are few two-way players who score at Marner’s level. The only players Canada should pick ahead of him are Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon and Connor McDavid. The only reason we are even having this conversation is because the Leafs haven’t advanced past the first round with Marner on their roster, something which can hardly be attributed solely to him.
Toronto Maple Leafs and Mitch Marner
Marner is hurt, and despite great underlying numbers, he hasn’t produced to his same 100 point level in the playoffs. That is about all you can say against him.
He is a very good defender who plays the penalty kill, and he also routinely scores at a 90+ point pace, and last year was the second highest 5v5 scorer in the NHL.
Leaving Mitch Marner off the roster for Tom Wilson or Zach Hyman is incomprehensible. It would be dumb to take even the likes of Marchand, Bergeron, Couturier, O’Rielly, Stamkos, Tavares or Huberdeau ahead of Marner.
Marner has zero goals in his last 18 playoff games, and I know how bad that sounds. But it’s a complete fluke. Zero Percent shooting is pretty unlucky, even if you aren’t a 100 point player to start with.
Once Marner has played enough of a sample size, his career playoff numbers will align exactly with his regular season numbers. There is no such thing as a player as good as Marner who “just can’t handle the playoffs.” The very idea is preposterous.
Team Canada always tries to get too cute with their roster, and it’s moronic. Just take the best players and shut up. Role players have no business in the Olympics. Zach Hyman being on this roster is a joke, and if that happens everyone involved should be fired.
Mitch Marner is a lock to make it, assuming the team’s managers are at all competent.