Mitch Marner was focusing on raising funds for charity with his 2nd annual All-Star Invitational on Thursday, but made news regarding his contract status with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The 22-year-old indicated that the ongoing contract negotiations between the Leafs and his camp are being handled by agent Darren Ferris and GM Kyle Dubas and that he would like things to be wrapped up prior to the start of training camp in mid-September.
"My agent and Kyle are doing it and they're going to figure something out. I haven't been involved too much, I've been letting my agent deal with all this stuff and let him do the talking for me.” Marner said to NHL.com’s Dave McCarthy.
If the two sides have not reached an agreement by the start of camp, Marner said he would not be attending training camp, but steered clear of talking other specifics.
“...It’s a place I grew up and I place I would love to give back to… hopefully, something works out”
"Probably not, there's so much risk with that and it's just something you don't want to risk."
A report last week indicated that the Columbus Blue Jackets explored the offer sheet option, but that Columbus was only interested in signing Marner for the maximum seven years, but that his camp was looking for a shorter term deal that would allow him another payday in free agency in his prime years.
The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline reported that the believe throughout the league is that Toronto would be willing to match any offer sheet extended to Marner and that the feeling is that the winger does not want to leave Toronto, but wants the best deal that he can get.
The statement about not going to training camp is not surprising, and should not be perceived as a shot across the bow of the Leafs. If a contract is not signed, sealed and delivered, there would be no expectation that he would report to training camp, because every question would be about the status of negotiations.
Marner is very conscious of how the contract impasse last summer sullied the reputation of teammate William Nylander (something that he is attempting to recover from by announcing this week that he would be paying for the number changeover from 29 to 88 on fan jerseys out of his own pocket). Being from the Toronto area and seeing the fall from favor and struggles that Nylander encountered after agreeing to a new deal, you can expect Marner to take the high road and not speak again until a contract is in place.
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