The focus may be on free agent forward William Nylander in Toronto at the moment, with the deadline coming to an end tomorrow at 5 pmET, however the Toronto Maple Leafs are well aware that other very important pending free agents need contract extension before July 1st, 2019. It's no secret: the Maple Leafs this offseason signed free agent center John Tavares to a seven-year contract worth $11 million per season and are negotiating a contract extension with center Auston Matthews.
However, forward Mitch Marner, who is also eligible for a contract extension before he would become a restricted free agent, has a different approach when it comes to re-signing with the Leafs.
Pierre LeBrun explained on Thursday night's segment of Insider Trading on TSN that Marner and his camp are looking at an unconventional second contact with the Canadian team and unfortunately, it does not seem to bode well with what the Maple Leafs want...
"One thing that hasn’t changed is that his camp (led by his agent Darren Ferris) doesn’t want to negotiate until the end of the season. We’ve known that. But what I think is new is that our understanding is the Marner camp is looking at the idea of the merits of a four- or five-year deal when it’s time to negotiate as opposed to a maximum or longer term deal. And that is obviously quite interesting. It’s probably not what the Leafs want, that’s for sure. Especially, a four-year deal because that would walk Marner right into ufa (unrestricted free agency). How much would a four or five-year deal cost instead of a max deal? My sense is they think it’s somewhere between $9-10 million based on the season that he is having right now."
Marner is definitely having an impressive season so far, recording six goals and 30 assists so far in just 26 games since the opener back in October. As for his second contract in Toronto, many are seeing Marner’s emergence this season and are starting to have the same concerns with his new deal.
And who can blame them? Leafs fans are surely undergone a lot of stress already this year with the ongoing Nylander stalemate. However, Marner is most likely learning from that experience at the moment, and so is general manager Kyle Dubas.
Marner's agent Darren Ferris will make sure his client gets what is coming to him but the Leafs will do their best to remind them that there’s only so much they can offer him. We will see what happens...