A Deeper Look into the Mitch Marner Signing with Toronto Maple Leafs

The Mitch Marner saga ended as unpredictably as it could. Marner signed a new deal on Friday the 13th on a night with a full moon.

These deals seem crazy on the surface but this one was a little out there. We take a deeper look at the six-year pact that Mitch Marner signed Friday.

What Mitch Marner means to the Toronto Maple Leafs

Marner saw the increase in ice time many expected to come in year three. The results were immediate as the winger increased his even-strength points dramatically. Playing with John Tavares at even-strength was instant chemistry.

The result was the winger’s production rose to 94 points — 26 goals and 68 assists. That included 70 even-strength points during the 2018-19 season.

Now, the contract is signed and sealed. The first question asked has to be, what fallout will there be from this new deal? Toronto now has their “core four” in place. That consists of William Nylander, Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, and John Tavares.

The 22-year-old expects to play nearly 20 minutes a night once again in the 2019-20 season and for several years to come.

Here is a PuckPedia snapshot on Mitch Marner.

The #MapleLeafs Mitch Marner 6 year $10.893M Cap Hit:

-Yr 1: $700K Base, $15.3M SB
-Yr 2: $700K & $14.3M SB
-Yr 3: $750K & $9.608M SB
-Yr 4: $750K & $7.25M SB
-Yr 5: $750K & $7.25M SB
-Yr 6: $750K, $7.25M SB

Rep’d by Darren Ferris @quartexxmgmt https://t.co/bcUNcKgR24

— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) September 14, 2019

Next, there is the numerology.

The numerology of Mitch Marner

Ultimately, Marner held quite a bit of leverage on Kyle Dubas. The contract above indicates as such. The nice thing for the winger is that all the signing bonus money is lockout proof. Marner gets paid on July 1st and does not have to wait for his dollars.

The right-winger dropped to a near-even relative last year and that the year before was more than a +3% relative. So, indeed there was a drop-off. Then, there was the 5-on-5 on-ice shooting percentage. That jumped up to 12.7% from just below 9% the year before.

Also, experts point to that his expected goals for that were 2.24% above the team average relative. Also, his points per 60 are very good. They approached three points per 60 at times before settling at 2.87 per 60.

Here is a standardized RAPM chart from Evolving Hockey.

Mitch Marner 2018-19 RAPM Chart
Mitch Marner’s 2018-19 season is the highest of highs offensively and the lowest of lows defensively at even strength.

What the charts do not show is Marner’s ability to kill penalties. His ability to create on the man advantage could not be disputed. His power-play expected goals for is almost off-the-charts.

Even-strength is much the same in terms of offensive goals for and expected goals for is above average. After that, there lie the defensive numbers which are below average as expected. Toronto has a theme of that. It’s just that Marner’s is a little worse than most on the team.

Marner was a wasteland when defending but sometimes they say the best defense is a good offense and that was the Toronto top line in a nutshell.

This signing looked like an overpay and the fact that Marner gets all but $4 million in the form of signing bonuses is something else. Marner sees over $30 million of the $65 million contract in the first two years.

The details of the Mitch Marner deal

The Marner re-signing gives the winger a six-year contract and goes into two years of unrestricted free agency. That is good news. Is the $10.893 million AAV a bit expensive? It without a doubt is.

There is a full no-movement clause in the last two years of the deal.

Some final words on Mitch Marner

Mitch Marner’s days of being under the radar are long gone. That salary will make him a lightning rod for criticism no matter if it is warranted or not.

Finally, the big domino of restricted free agency falls by the wayside. Few expected a signing. However, it was Friday the 13th and a full moon. Now, the question is who will sign next now that the market has been overinflated and set? Will Mikko Rantanen or Brayden Point ink a deal soon?

The start of training camp spurred this signing. At least, that is the thought process. Marner has things to improve on and this contract in terms of AAV is quite the gamble for Toronto. Both sides need this to work and work quickly in terms of deep playoff runs and a Stanley Cup.