How close did the Blue Jackets come to offer-sheeting Mitch Marner?

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

The longer Mitchell Marner remains unsigned, the more questions are floated into the hockey universe about whether Toronto’s biggest restricted free agent might be presented with an offer sheet.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussed the latest — including last Friday’s on-air comments by Sportsnet’s Joey Vendetta indicating a looming offer sheet that could be coming Marner’s way — during Thursday’s episode of 31 Thoughts: The Podcast.

Friedman, when asked by Marek, said this:

“This is what I’ve heard about Marner. And again, everybody’s being quiet so we’ll see how close to the truth this actually is. Last Friday, when Joey said that, everybody was talking about the Islanders. I think there was another team before that and my belief is that team was Columbus. I think they were thinking about it.”

Marner, 22, is one of the headliners in what is a deep, talented RFA class that also includes Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point, Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen, and Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk. Carolina’s Sebastian Aho was tendered an offer sheet by the Montreal Canadiens — five years, $42.27 million — which the Hurricanes matched.

Friedman indicated that, in Marner’s case, term is what proved to be a big obstacle between Marner and the Blue Jackets.

“I think what happened was, if Columbus was going to do it, it had to be for seven years. And I think what I heard Marner was looking for, or his side was looking for, was less term than that,” Friedman said. “But I had multiple people telling me that they thought if anybody was going to do it, it was going to be Columbus.”

Listen to the latest episode 31 Thoughts: The Podcast in its entirety here:

Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman talk to a lot of people around the hockey world, and then they tell listeners all about what they’ve heard and what they think about it.

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