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SportsMaple Leafs offseason grade: Without Mitch Marner, Leafs remain incomplete

22:01  11 september  2019
22:01  11 september  2019 Source:   sportingnews.com

Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs agree to new six-year contract

Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs agree to new six-year contract The Toronto Maple Leafs and restricted free agent forward Mitch Marner have agreed to a new six-year contract. 

Maple Leafs offseason grade: Without Mitch Marner, Leafs remain incomplete© Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited

The Maple Leafs experienced significant roster turnover this offseason and could have as many as 11 new players in the lineup when they begin the regular season on Oct. 2 hosting the Ottawa Senators. Developing chemistry amongst a large number of new players will be critical for the Maple Leafs in the early going, due to the fact that the Atlantic Division figures to be far stronger than last season.

A poor start could put a team behind the eight-ball by American Thanksgiving because the Florida Panthers, Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens — three teams that missed the playoffs last season — are expected to push the only three teams — the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Maple Leafs — who did.

Forward Mitch Marner joins Toronto Maple Leafs in Newfoundland for training camp

Forward Mitch Marner joins Toronto Maple Leafs in Newfoundland for training camp PARADISE, N.L. — Mitch Marner and Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas say bringing the team together and not missing any games were top of mind issues as they inked a six-year deal. Marner joined his Maple Leafs teammates today in Paradise, N.L. for the second day of training camp. The former restricted free agent agreed to a six-year deal with Toronto yesterday, with an average annual value of US$10.893 million. Dubas thanked the 22-year-old Marner for his commitment to the team by agreeing to a salary slightly below his expectations, in order to have the team in a good place for the start of the season.

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Offseason goals

The Maple Leafs biggest piece of business — agree to terms on a new contract with restricted free agent Mitchell Marner — remains outstanding. General manager Kyle Dubas has maintained his goal is to have Marner signed by the beginning of training camp but Marner’s camp seems intent on maximizing his value based on the comparable salary parameters set by the Auston Matthews contract, which carries an average annual value of $11.634 million. ​

The other sticking point for Marner is term. The Maple Leafs would prefer a longer-term deal but Marner’s camp is not interested in long-term unless the dollar value far and away exceeds Matthews’ AAV.

What do fans think of the Leafs’ Mitch Marner signing?

What do fans think of the Leafs’ Mitch Marner signing? Toronto Maple Leafs signing unrestricted free agent Mitch Marner to a hefty six-year contract worth $65.385 million is generating a mixed reaction from fans. After months of negotiations, Marner signed a deal at an average of $10.893 million a year (all dollars U.S.). The forward player is now the team’s third highest-paid player behind centres Auston Matthews ($11.634 million) and John Tavares ($11 million). The Leafs now have three of the seven highest-paid players in the NHL. The deal puts the Leafs payroll at nearly $95 million, almost $11 million over the NHL’s salary cap. On Friday night, Marner tweeted that he was “proudly continuing the tradition with the Maple Leafs.

Offseason acquisitions

Pontus Aberg (F), Kenny Agostino (F), Tyson Barrie (D), Cody Ceci (D), Kevin Gravel (D), Ben Harpur (D), Alexander Kerfoot (F), Teemu Kivihalme (D), Ilya Mikheyev (F), Jordan Schmaltz (D), Nick Shore (F), Jason Spezza (F), Garret Wilson (F)

PTOs: Matt Read (F), Michal Neuvirth (G)

MORE: Barrie adds key right-handed defenseman

Offseason departures

Connor Brown (F), Tyler Ennis (F), Jake Gardiner (D), Ron Hainsey (D), Nazem Kadri (F), Patrick Marleau (F), Igor Ozhiganov (D) Calle Rosen (D), Garret Sparks (G) , Nikita Zaitsev (D)

Maple Leafs offseason grade: Without Mitch Marner, Leafs remain incomplete© Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited tyson-barrie-colorado-avalanche-042619-getty-ftr,jpeg

Free agency/trades

Unlike the previous offseason when the Maple Leafs landed the biggest prize on the free-agent market in John Tavares, due to salary cap constraints, they did not go big game hunting this offseason. The Maple Leafs dipped into the free-agent market primarily to add depth to the roster through low-money signings that included Spezza, Aberg, Wilson and Gravel.

Mitch Marner’s agent: Leafs forward received a couple of offer sheets

Mitch Marner’s agent: Leafs forward received a couple of offer sheets Mitch Marner’s agent says his client received a couple of offer sheets while he was a restricted free agent but his goal all along was to stay with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The post Mitch Marner’s agent confirms turning down multiple offer sheets appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.

Most of Toronto’s roster re-working was done via trade. Acquiring Barrie and Kerfoot from the Colorado Avalanche gave the Maple Leafs a significant upgrade on defense in Barrie and some bottom-six forward versatility with Kerfoot.

They also accommodated Zaitsev’s trade request sending him and Brown to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Ceci and Harpur.

MORE: Can Ceci finally find his stride with Toronto? It's a toss-up

The biggest issue the Maple Leafs face is that even with the reworking of their defense via trade, only Morgan Rielly remains under contract beyond this season.

2019 draft

The Maple Leafs did not have a first-round pick in June’s draft due to the trade that brought defenseman Jake Muzzin over from the Los Angeles Kings in January.

Their first pick this year was Nick Robertson, a 5-9, 160-pound left-winger from the Ontario Hockey League who had 55 points (27 goals, 28 assists) in 54 games with the Peterborough Petes last season. He possesses a high skill level and an excellent work ethic but projects to be at least two seasons away from making an impact at the NHL level.

Mitch Marner Actually Thinking He's More Valuable Than Auston Matthews is Ludicrous

Mitch Marner Actually Thinking He's More Valuable Than Auston Matthews is Ludicrous It's the middle of September and Mitch Marner and the Toronto Maple Leafs are still sniping back and fourth about a potential new contract. Based on the latest reports, however, maybe the Leafs were in the right after all. Toronto has offered seven- and eight-year deals with an average annual value of around $11 million to the 21-year-old Marner, but he is still holding out hope that he could get a deal that surpasses that of yes, Auston

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Offseason grade: B-

The Maple Leafs entered the offseason needing an upgrade on defense, and despite a difficult salary cap predicament, Dubas managed to bring in Barrie, who will be a significant improvement. The issue will recur though this coming offseason when Barrie and Ceci, along with Muzzin will each be unrestricted free agents.

In re-signing Hutchinson and adding Neuvirth on a professional tryout , Dubas procured sufficient depth that should be able to return stability to the backup goalie position after a turbulent season last year with Garret Sparks.

MORE: Hutchinson ready to 'try to earn the guys' trust' on and off the ice​

The biggest piece of business heading into the offseason though was signing Marner and that is still not done, leaving the team in a situation where they could be without a core player once training camp begins for the second consecutive season.

2019-20 season prediction

Second place in the Atlantic Division; Eastern Conference finalists

Maple Leafs were Mitch Marner’s first, and only, choice.
Maple Leafs were Mitch Marner’s first, and only, choice

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