There has been speculation that Team Canada’s Olympic Team would leave Mitch Marner off the final roster.
There is no denying that Marner has a much higher skill set than Wilson, but is pure skill enough to make Team Canada? According to Team Canada general manager Doug Wilson, the answer is no.
“You have to continually reinforce that you’re building a team that can compete in an NHL-style game, not a team that can compete in an All-Star Game,” Armstrong said. “There’s going to be body-checking, there’s going to be tight, defensive play. There’s going to be things that you want to make sure you have players that can close games out, that can kill penalties, that can do all the things that make you successful.”
Those quotes from Armstrong led Greeley to remove Marner from his Team Canada projected lineup and replace him with Wilson.
Comparing Mitch Marner and Tom Wilson
So far this season, Wilson has 24 points in 26 games. He is averaging 19:28 minutes of ice time a game. Of his 24 points, 19 of them have come while playing at even strength. Wilson has a Corsi for percentage (CF%) of 49.6% while playing at even strength. His team controls the puck less than 50% of the time while he is on the ice.
Not to take anything away from Wilson’s skill set, but can he be trusted to keep his cool. Will he be able to keep himself away from the dangerous plays that have seen him suspended multiple times in the NHL? Only he knows the answer to that.
Marner has 21 points in 24 games this season. He is averaging 20:47 minutes of ice time a game. Of his 21 points, 13 of them have been at even strength. Marner also has a CF% of 54% while playing at even strength. That means that when Marner is on the ice, his team controls the puck 54% of the time. (naturalstattrick.com).
As of right now, Marner is out with a shoulder injury. He will miss 3-4 weeks, so we will see how he plays once he returns in January.
Toronto Maple Leafs Lack Of Playoff Success a Deciding Factor
Greeley also states in his piece that Wilson has a slight edge over Marner due to NHL playoff success. The problem with that is other than the 15 points Wilson recorded in the 2018 playoffs to help Washington win the Stanley Cup, he has not produced much in the playoffs.
Wilson has 30 points in 82 playoff games during eight trips to the playoffs. Marner has 25 points in 32 playoff games during five trips. Yes, Wilson won a Stanley Cup and can be considered more battle-tested, but from a production standpoint, it is clear that if Marner were to have played the same number of playoff games (82) as Wilson, Marner would have more playoff points.
Hard to imagine Marner not being on Team Canada with his skill set. Unfortunately, many talented players will also miss out. One can only hope that if he misses out with Team Canada, it will drive him to play even better. That kind of drive would benefit the Toronto Maple Leafs come playoff time.