Mitch Marner Is Worth $11 Million Annually

by | Feb 10, 2019 | Soapbox | 19 comments

With the Toronto Maple Leafs inking Auston Matthews to a five-year, $58.17-million contract extension ($11.634 million annual average value), their focus shifts toward getting Mitch Marner re-signed before July 1.

A restricted free agent this summer, Marner could become an attractive target for an offer sheet from a rival club. He and the Leafs agreed to postpone contract negotiations until the end of the season and it’s a good bet they’ll try to get him signed as quickly as possible.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner is poised to land a significant pay raise following this season (Photo via NHL Images).

In my analysis of the Matthews deal, I speculated Marner’s new contract could cost the Leafs around $11 million annually on a long-term deal of six-to-eight years. Some readers scoffed at that notion. Several suggested he wasn’t worth more than $9 million annually, believing it wouldn’t be right for Marner to get more than Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov ($9.5 million per starting in 2019-20) or Dallas’ Tyler Seguin ($9.85 million).

I’m willing to concede that maybe Marner might accept an annual cap hit of between $10- million to $10.5 million on a front-loaded eight-year deal whereby, like Matthews, the bulk of his salary is paid as a signing bonus every July 1. However, I don’t believe he’ll accept less than $10 million per.

First of all, as Marner’s agent recently stated, his client won’t accept any hometown discounts. Not after seeing Matthews and William Nylander getting lucrative new contracts this season.

There’s no justification for the Leafs to low-ball Marner or force him to accept less than market value. He tallied 61 points as a rookie, led the Leafs with 69 points last season and is currently their leading scorer with 66 points in 54 games.

Had Matthews not been sidelined by shoulder injuries the last two seasons, he probably would have been the Leafs’ leading scorer. Still, that doesn’t detract from Marner’s steady improvement as a scoring star or his value to the Leafs as one of their core players.

As of Feb. 9, Marner sat tenth among the league’s top-10 scorers. Indeed, he’s been in the top-10 for most of the season. He’s on pace to reach 100 points, which would make him the first Leaf to reach that milestone since Doug Gilmour (111 points) in 1993-94.

You don’t look at that type of point producer and beg him to take a discount.

As for the comparisons to Kucherov and Seguin, Marner’s already out-pointed them at this stage in his career compared to where they were at the same period. Kucherov had 149 points in his first three NHL seasons (18, 65, 66) while Seguin had 121 (22, 67, 32). Granted, Seguin’s third season came during the last lockout, but even if we’re being generous and assume he’d reach 60 points had he played a full regular season, he’d still fall short of the 195 points Marner’s already accumulated.

The argument can be made that the game is now more favorable toward offensive players than it was for Kucherov and Seguin earlier in their respective careers. That’s as may be, but it doesn’t negate the fact Marner has thrived in the NHL much sooner than expected.

And let’s not forget the tax implications. Kucherov and Seguin play in cities where there is no state tax. That’s not the case for Marner living and working in the province of Ontario. Once those provincial taxes are deducted, he could end up taking home less than Kucherov and Seguin if he accepts less than $10 million annually on his next contract. 

Some Toronto fans and pundits could beg Marner to accept less to save their club from a coming salary-cap crunch. However, management could’ve avoided that problem had they not invested over $6 million per season in an aging Patrick Marleau or $11 million annually on John Tavares for seven seasons or over $4.5 million annually on a long-term deal for defenseman Nikita Zaitsev.

Marner deserves almost as much as Matthews. He’s an indispensable, durable player who is as responsible for the Leafs’ dramatic rise over the past three years as Matthews, Nylander, Tavares, and anyone else among their core players.

Marner is going to get paid. A lot. And it’s probably going to be north of $10 million annually. If the Leafs won’t pay that much, another club happily will with an offer sheet, perhaps with an amount the Leafs, despite their bluster, might be unable to match.







19 Comments

  1. LMAO! We have found the dumbest human ever to walk the planet! Obviously, it’s evident being a writer that you’re a moron but this takes the cake! Maybe do some fact checking before you put you foot in that big mouth! #youshouldbeworkingatmcdonalds

    • It would help if you explained what “fact checking” you’re referring to. Otherwise, glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for reading. Cheers!

    • We sure did, sv…thanks for making it obvious. I’m not on to guess on numbers but it seems like cap percentage is the number we should be guessing at vs dollar amounts… but at anyway you cut it, like all star players, he’s gonna get paid. And like I’ve said in the past, spend your cap dollars on your stars and not replaceable players even if it costs you a good player.

    • Looks like Sv has finished his new outhouse hole. I hope he doesn’t fall into the full one when he moves the top part over, like he did last time. I watched it on youtube with Paul Simons in the background singing “Slip Sliding Away”. Maybe it was The Chipmunks. Anyway, it was great!

    • Gee, first post and, instead of talking Hockey or debating the merits of the article, you go straight to a personal insult. I would suggest you visit a proctologist to have your brain examined, but that would be a waste of the proctologist’s time.

      • That is what I thought too…not a single hockey post prior to a giant negative blast. for all the things I love about the “new age of communication”, the anonymity Twitter and sites give many posters is how tough and nasty they can be when hiding electronically.
        I agree someone will (in my opinion) overpay on Marner but I bet the Leafs do a five year deal…

    • Imagine- having nothing better to do, than criticize someone, who does a great job!

      I’ve been on here since it started, fellow PEI native.

      Lyle- if you need the trash taken out…

  2. Great article. I feel this kid is the unsung hero.. durability is valuable as well. Eyes and hands send tap ins to Matthew’s n Tavares and they get the credit. Other teams know damn well and the offer sheets will come flowing. $11M or leave. Loyalty to yourself.

  3. I agree with you, Lyle. I’ll even take it a step further. There is no reason for Marner to accept anything less than Matthews received – including the shorter term. It’s certainly debatable which of the two is more important to the franchise. What isn’t debatable is the fact that Marner has Dubas by the tender parts. Give him what he wants before July 1 or match that offer sheet on July 2.

  4. Great analysis Lyle

    I’m with you that if it’s 5 or more years … it’s definitely $10 M minimum

    The $11M mark to me; would be a stretch and have to be a longer contract than 5 years

    Now , if it was for 7 or 8 years then yes $11M is certainly in line.

    I’m just thinking that MM’s camp would like s shorter term

    Leafs would obviously like to steer clear of a repeat in 5 years (ie both AM & MM with 5 yr terms)

    A term of 4 (MM UFA at end of contract) would be GM suicide for Dubas

    1 or 2 years NOT happening

    With my assumption that MM camp would rather not do a 7 or 8 year …. 1,2,4 not happening … that leaves 3,5,or 6 year extensions

    MM could bet big time in himself and pray for massive increases in Cap in next 3 years; and therefore go for the 3 year bridge ; and that would be the only way at all that GMKD could get away with AAV than the take home AAV of AM

    to summarize my lengthy diatribe…. my gut call

    1) even though MM agent has hinted towards signing after July first (not signing during season)… he can save face by finalizing a deal AFTER Leafs play-offs end; but B4 1/7

    2A) 5 years $50-$52.5M (League Min Sal ; balance all in SB) ; OR

    2B) 6 years $63-$66M (League Min Sal ; balance all in SB)

    Go Leafs Go

    • Oooops ; fat finger typing ; weak eyes…..

      “only way at all that GMKD could get away with AAV than the take home AAV of AM”

      should have read

      “only way at all that GMKD could get away with AAV of > $10 M”

      • Ahhhh

        Less than $10 M…. not more than $10 M…..ahhhhh 🙁

        I think it’s time for me to give my weak eyes a rest for the night

        sorry about those mistakes Lyle

      • That should have been “<$10 M"

        Sorry

  5. Everyone slow down a bit. MM is definitely a superstar in NHL. He is absolutely ridiculous with the puck and the vision on the ice is unbelievable, what’s more incredible is that he is relentless in puck retrieval and rarely turns over the puck. His IQ for the game is in another stratosphere. The difference between MM and AM this year is JT. When you have superstar like JT as your center man who can finish, dish and engage in the corners it’s pretty sweet. AM on the other hand has an average at best in Marleau as one of his winger. So let’s slow down on Marner’s bandwagon. Believe me, if AM had a winger likes of Panarin, Kane, or Seguin, AM’s numbers will be off the charts. Most of AM’s goals are byproduct of his lethal wrist shots. AM is one guy in the league who can change the game by a flick of a wrist. Dubas need to find a winger who can compliment AM with similar set of skills. Right now, the only available winger is Panarin. Leafs have one dangerous line that is Tavares line. The rest are just so so lines. Dubas need to weed out the floaters and really go after Panarin. I think Columbus might be interested in Nylander as he can play both the wing and center position. Panarin can be had for 7 years $65-$70 mills. That’s roughly $2.5 – $3 mill more than WN. But, the skill level is night and day. To make the numbers work, trade Kadri for a D man, and let Gardiner walk. If this scenario plays out you truly have one of the most dangerous 1 2 punch in the league. Once, Marleau, Kadri, Gardiner, Hainsey, Zaitsev and Brown’s Cap is off the books, Dubas can tinker to fine tune the rest of the roster.

    Hyman/Tavares/Marner
    Panarin/Matthews/Kapanen
    Johnsson/Lindholm/Ennis
    Moore/Mueller/Bracco

    With Marner at $11 mill, Panarin at $10 mill, Kappy and Johnsson at $3 mill each for 3 years, you are looking at total of $49 mills for top two lines and about $7 mills for bottom two lines.
    Grand total of $56 mills at the front. Now for the back end, if everything plays out the way I want:

    Rielly : (McQuaid/Pesce)
    Muzzin : Gudas
    Dermott: Holl

    $16-$18 mill cap hit

    Goalies:

    Andersson/Hutchinson

    $6 mill cap hit.

    A grand total of $78 – $80 mills Cap Hit for 2019-2020 season.

    PANARIN is very possible, if Dubas can work his magic. Matthews’s talent shouldn’t be wasted with Marleau in fact CAN NOT be wasted by Marleau any longer.

    Go Leafs Go

    • As a Columbus fan I would probably agree that we would accept nylander for panarin. In an ideal world I believe jarmo and JD would want more but with what panarin has said and the fact he can walk at the end of the season that sounds like it is probably one of the better deals Columbus could hope for. However I think jarmo will keep panarin for a playoff push and trade bob, for another veteran goalie. Trading bob is harder though since he will have to approve it.

  6. Lyle, why would you allow such garbage to be posted on your site? We all know the troll for everything. Don’t let your site be a place for clowns like that to come and post garbage.

    Thanks for having a site that allow us to have friendly or heated debates and pretend we could do better then MM. (not Mitch Marner)

  7. I love watching Mitch Marner play and I don’t care how much they pay him.

  8. 8 x 10 would be a coup for Dubas. Would love to see it, but think 11 is more likely. Hoping he stays in Toronto for a very long time.

  9. I feel like I am probably the only guy in the world who thinks Marner is actually just better than Matthews. I’ve also found Matthews a bit overrated. He has a lethal wrist shot, but doesn’t play with passion or an edge a lot of the time. Marner, sure he has JT this season, but Marner is primarily a set up guy and he has a guy who is finishing his plays, even better than Matthews did.

    Marner has wheels, he makes magic happen all the time. I just think he is more valuable, like… Matthews to me isn’t even the best center on the Leafs let alone the best player. Now, IMO Matthews being the 3rd best guy on the Leafs makes them an absolutely scary team to face… just feel Marner is THE guy.