Mitch Marner has been using Auston Matthews as a contract comparable since Day 1. Whether that’s fair or not (hint: it isn’t), it is the narrative his camp — led by Paul The Over-Involved Hockey Dad and agent Darren Ferris — has been pushing for months, and apparently that stance isn’t changing in the slightest as training camp looms.
The latest reports have Marner turning down a deal that would pay him basically the same as 47-goal-scoring centreman John Tavares — a seven-year term worth around $11 million annually.
TOR has made seven and eight year offers in the $11M AAV universe but because it’s a lower AAV and longer term than Auston Matthews, it hasn’t been palatable to Marner.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) September 11, 2019
TSN’s Darren Dreger noted in an earlier tweet that with those long-term offers apparently falling through, the sides are focused on solidifying some type of bridge deal in the three-year range.
From Toronto’s end of things, the hold up there is that Marner wants an AAV in the $9M to $10M universe on a bridge, according to McKenzie, with the third-year number being much higher as that would be the base for a qualifying offer for the fourth year.
Toronto has very little incentive to do any kind of short-term bridge deal at those numbers, which means the stalemate drags on.
I mean, it’s pretty obvious why the Leafs won’t toss Marner “Matthews money” and completely understandable why they and basically any other competent organization wouldn’t pay a winger — despite his high production and age — like arguably the best even-strength goal-scoring centre in the entire league. Centres and goals are simply valued more than wingers and assists. It isn’t all that complicated.
(It’s even wild that Toronto offered Marner a comparable deal to Tavares, a centreman who finished second in the entire NHL in goals last season.)
From Marner’s standpoint, it’s evident he and his team are super dedicated to this whole “Mitch is as valuable as Auston” bit. You have to respect the commitment to the insanity, I suppose. Get yours, Mitch, if you really think this is the way to get it.
As both sides leak specific details on what would normally be a very private, behind-closed-doors type of negotiation, it’s pretty clear that this could get a whole lot more public, and ugly, before there’s any resolution here.
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