Mitch Marner really wanted the ending to be different this time around.
The Boston Bruins once again eliminated the Canadian team in seven games, this time with a final score of 5-1 to move on to face the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round.
After the loss, Marner faced media members and looked already set for a rematch.
“It sucks,” Marner told reporters postgame. “We believe in this team, we have a lot of confidence in this team. Obviously, when a season ends, it sucks. It’s got to stay with us, we’ve got to be hungry for this next year and make sure we come back pissed off.”
If Marner wants a revenge matchup against the Bruins next spring, he will need to make sure he remains a Leaf. The pending free agent had mentioned several times this past year how he wanted to talk extension with the team once the season was over and now the time has come.
However, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos believes the young star forward is in a no-win situation and that he faces tough issues ahead of his contract extension talks with general manager Kyle Dubas.
“One that really dictates where any of this goes is Mitch Marner, he started off on Hockey Central at Noon. “Where do they go with that? I kind of feel sorry for the kid right now…
“You ask for the money you know you deserve, you can end up looking like a selfish guy that can derail the whole salary cap. And if you don’t ask for what you know you deserve, you might have a little tough time looking at yourself in the mirror, right?”
After leading the Leafs with 94 points this seaosn, it is believed that Marner’s agents were prepared to ask for Auston Matthews money — $11.6 million a year. The Leafs could try to bring his value down by saying that after scoring two goals in Game 1, Marner had just two assists the rest of the series, both of them coming on the power play. He recorded no points in the final three games of the series.
The question is can the Leafs afford to sign Marner to $10 million a year or more? Will the kid feel trapped as Kypreos mentioned?
Dubas has 67 days to get a deal done…