Earlier this week Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas said he wants to lock up stars Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner as soon as possible, and now it seems like the wheels are turning with at least one of those player’s agents.
Marner’s agent Darren Ferris met with Dubas in New Jersey ahead of the Maple Leafs’ game against the Devils on Dec. 18, and is expected to be in Toronto for two Maple Leafs home games this weekend, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston on Saturday Headlines.
But Johnston added he doesn’t think Marner wants to sign during the season.
“While I believe the dialogue is positive, I’m still not convinced Mitch Marner wants to do a deal in season,” Johnston said. “I believe he’s still waiting for Auston Matthews but the dialogue has accelerated since Kyle Dubas met the media this week.”
Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos added that part of the reason Marner might want to wait until the end of the season to sign an extension is because rival teams could send him an offer sheet.
“Not only Marner but many of these pending restricted free agents are certainly intrigued by the offer sheet,” Kypreos said. “There’s a lot of people I’m sure, including Kyle Dubas, who believe that’s a lot of white noise. But behind the scenes I believe there are multiple teams telling these agents that there’s a distinct possibility we will offer sheet your player.
“In saying that, there’s a big difference between someone talking about that around Christmas and actually having the guts to do it on July 1.”
Marner entered Saturday with 10 goals and 47 points, leading the team in scoring and putting him in the top 10 in points across the entire league.
While the summer is a long way off, this new development shows Dubas is going to do everything he can to avoid a long negotiation with Marner like the one he just had with William Nylander.