Some fans in Toronto might be disappointed to know that Maple Leafs star forward Mitch Marner hasn’t scored a goal in 12 games, but has 16 assists in that time span. And that's the key information here because last night's assist from the stick of Marner has rewarded him with an insane bonus.
The 21-year-old Leafs forward is already making quite a bit of money, and is awaiting a spanking new contract in the following months. On Tuesday night, Marner added more money to his wallet after recording his 35th assists of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes. His feed to John Tavares’ third period goal helped him earn his Schedule A bonus on his entry-level contract after reaching the milestone for the second consecutive season. He’s now tied with Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point for fifth in league scoring, according to the Complete Hockey News.
Players can also earn the bonus if they reach 20 goals, a 60 point minimum, or average .73 points per game through a minimum of 42 games. Marner got all three last season after leading the Leafs with 22 goals and 47 assists in 82 games.
It's funny to think that hours before the contest against the Hurricanes, Tavares wanted more from his linemate, hoping Marner could focus on shooting towards the net more often.
“I’m on him right now. We’ve got to get him one in the back of the net, spread the wealth around,” Tavares said. “I think he’s got a lot of deception in his game and he can be very difficult to read. His ability to look players off and find the passing lanes – I think he can be very similar with his shot.”
Tavares added that it doesn’t have to be “the hardest shot in the league” to be effective.
“It’s just about being able to fool the goaltender, just trying to be hard to read and trying not to be predictable,” he said.
Head coach Mike Babcock surprised many with what he had to say about Marner's use of his shot that has started to noticeably decline lately. The issue is not bothering Babcock at the moment, and you better believe it is not bothering Marner's wallet either.
“I think Mitch is one of those guys where it’s pretty hard to give advice to, because he makes the right play most of the time,” Babcock said after the Leafs’ optional morning skate. “But we encourage him all the time in practice to be shooting it. I think on the power play he can shoot it more as well because he has a dangerous shot, but he makes a lot of good decisions. You hate to be giving him too much advice there.”