Mitch Marner Group-Think Embarrassing to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Fanbase

Toronto Maple Leafs v New Jersey Devils
Toronto Maple Leafs v New Jersey Devils / Elsa/GettyImages

If there is one thing that Toronto Maple Leafs fans have a bad reputation for, it's turning on players with no regard to the reality of the situation.

In Toronto Maple Leafs history, fans have turned viscously on such undeserving players as Larry Murphy, Brian McCabe, Tomas Kaberle, Mats Sundin, Alex Kerfoot, Justin Holl, and most egregiously of all, Jake Gardiner.

In every case, without exception, the player in question was much better than these fans would acknowledge.

Without exception these were just hot-takes that got out of control by turning into group-think. There isn't a single time where the Leafs fans were right to try to run these players out of town. They were just a frustrated mob of people who turned their ire onto one random player, and it grew out of control to the point where most people stopped questioning it.

Sure, there are fans out there that understand that Jake Gardiner is one of the best defenseman in franchise history, but they aren't the loudest fans or the most demonstrative. They are correct, but you wouldn't know it.

And now it's happening with Mitch Marner.

Mitch Marner Group-Think Embarrassing to the Franchise and Fanbase

The Toronto Maple Leafs have had a lot of bad luck over the last seven years, and it seems that people are channeling their anger about this towards Mitch Marner.

This is a player who, if not for some bad luck, could have just finished up his sixth straight 100 point season. IN fact, he has been on pace for 100, without ever hitting it, for four straight seasons. He is in year six of playing at a 90 point pace.

Marner is a hall of famer.

Marner is one of the greatest Leafs of all-time. Mats Sundin and Auston Matthews are the two best players in franchise history, but if you're arguing about the 3rd best, you could reasonably put Marner into the conversation.

You would be wrong, but it wouldn't be an unreasonable take. Marner is an elite scorer and an elite defender. He is currently ranking below Keon, Salming, Sittler, Gilmour and Clark.

But he's only 26 and when he re-signs to the biggest and most expensive contract in team history, he'll have another eight years to become the franchise's all-time leading scorer and second best player.

If people actually understood how unlucky the Leafs were to lose 11 straight elimination games - like if they truly knew the numbers and the odds of that actually happening - we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Marner has a career on-ice shooting percentage of 7.5% in the playoffs. For the last four years, in the regular season when he's posted 100 point-pace seasons, the Leafs have scored on between 10 and 17% of their shots with Marner on the ice. (stats from

He's just been a bit unlucky.

And sure, we're waiting for that great legend-making performance, but I know it will come eventually. He's just a great player and there is no chance you could be as good as he is and then be unable to cope with the playoffs.

Marner's career numbers in the playoffs are fine. Nearly a point per game and for the last four seasons between a 56% and 64% xGoals player. That is elite. He's putting up the peripherals, so the numbers will follow. It just takes a long time to build a big sample in the playoffs.

Marner should not be traded. He should not even be criticized. He's a great player, and a great guy. There is nothing you can say about him that is negative- his attitude is solid, he seems like a cool guy, and he's never been in trouble or had one bad word said about him off the ice.

On the ice, his biggest fault is that we've become used to his casual greatness. Does he have another level? Sure he does, and he's going to hit it.

Maybe even by the time you're reading this. I wrote yesterday before game three. Maybe Marner had a hat-trick and is now a living legend. Who knows? If it wasn't in game three, it will be in game four, or five.

Give Marner enough time and he'll lead this team to glory. Sorry if his consistent greatness isn't good enough for you, I guess, but if you're patient you will be rewarded.

No matter what happens, Marner should not be traded. He should be re-signed and really, no amount of money is too much. He's on pace to be the second best player in Leafs history.

Let us roundly ignore the Marner haters and remember that like every single other topic, the internet gives a megaphone to the least nuanced and most wrong opinions.


I would love for the Leafs to win the Stanley Cup, but when I see fans of the team acting like spoiled children and criticizing a player we're lucky to have, I just don't know if we haven't already been getting the results we deserve.