When the Leafs Drafted Mitch Marner from the London Knights of the OHL, General Managers from around the league second-guessed the decision and wondered if the Leafs Management had messed up on another draft pick.
Marner’s tenure in London was marked by nothing but success. In Marner’s 3 years with the London Knights organization, he amassed 96 goals 205 assists for 301 points in 184 games. That puts Marner at about 1.6 points per game. Everyone thought great another junior player will not be able to translate their offensive abilities into the NHL.
Most scouts said he’s fast but too small and has no muscle build to help with his board work. Scouts also implied that his offensive ability would not translate into the style that the NHL plays. But the Leafs saw something in him that they felt was worth what was considered the minimal risk. The payoff has been everything and more than the Leafs could have asked for.
In his first 2 seasons with Toronto, Marner has put up impressive numbers. In his first 159 games, Marner put up 41 goals 89 assists for 130 points. Earning him 0.82 points per game average and improving on his rookie number totals in year 2 showed that Marner is growing as a player. This season is no different for Marner. In 34 games this season Marner has put up sensational numbers, 9 goals and 35 assists for 44 points. If Marner was to keep the same pace and played all 82 games he would put up 106 points this season.
While Marner has become one of the elite playmakers in the league, guys like Dylan Strome are still trying to find his groove and become a full-time NHL player. Expect Marner to become more of a two-way player, he already begun that process but expect more improvement in that aspect of his game.
But as Leaf fans we get to enjoy Marner’s magic for what we hope is a long time coming.