Pressure to perform Marner extension signals go time for Leafs Exhale, Leafs Nation; the great standoff has ended. Mitch Marner is a very rich young man and the Toronto Maple Leafs have a long term commitment from one of the best hockey players on the planet. Thats the stripped down, unemotional truth of Friday evenings dollar 65.4 million . The Marner Leafs soap opera is over and both sides, generally speaking, got what they wanted without causing too much damage to egos involved, the on ice product, or the fan base. Its now go time for the franchise. As the preseason ramps up, the business of hockey can finally be set aside for another day. Marners six year extension worth dollar 10.9 million annually is front loaded. And, in signing on through the 2024 25 season, the 22 year old forward is now scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at 28. Heres the breakdown of Marners earnings base salary and signing bonus paid out on July 1 for each year of the pact, according to . The extension makes Marner the NHLs player for the 2019 20 season. In terms of cap hit, he now lives between dollar 11 million teammate John Tavares and a trio of stars Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Carey Price making dollar 10.5 million. In short, the 94 point forward who grew up in the sprawling Toronto suburb of Markham is in good company. Now, although Marners a terrific, dynamic winger who plays in all situations, hes probably being overpaid by dollar 1 million to 2 million in the short term. This is what happens when a teams brass pushes for more years, and a players camp digs its heels in on more money . If Marner can become a 100 point driving force on a consistent Stanley Cup contending squad, that annual hit will look beyond reasonable by the second or third year. All in all, based on Marners skill set and resume, the deal is a fairly safe bet. The cap hit works for the Leafs because the books have been carefully constructed for it to work. General manager Kyle Dubas proclaimed last July that he would sign Auston Matthews, Marner, and William Nylander, and after countless discussions, hes done just that. It wasnt easy two of three deals were partially negotiated in public, Nylanders shortened 2018 19 season proved fruitless, and Matthews has one of the most player friendly contracts in hockey but everything is now in place. Dubas, for all intents and purposes, accomplished what he set out to do. Head coach Mike Babcock has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal, which, although not a new development, is amplified now. The Leafs nucleus is firmly six players deep forwards Matthews, Tavares, Marner, and Nylander, defenseman Morgan Rielly, and goaltender Frederik Andersen and all six are under contract for at least the next two seasons. With that stability, the pressures on Marner and Nylander to perform to their paychecks, Matthews to stay healthy and keep scoring at a near historic rate, Babcock to make the right coaching decisions, and Dubas to work his magic around the fringes of the roster in order to support the expensive core. In more ways than one, Toronto will act as an interesting case study moving forward. For starters, how will paying a select few mass amounts of money affect roster construction? Will there be enough dough to go around to make everyone happy in the chase for a Cup? Torontos four highest paid players will account for roughly 50 percent of the dollar 81.5 million cap in 19 20. Eleven players on the current 23 man roster are earning . Thats an incredibly top heavy payroll. The Leafs have now locked up not one, not two, but three high end players coming off entry level deals. Just about every NHL team has one high end kid maybe two. But three and to commit so much cash and so much term to each of them is rare and, frankly, an excellent problem to have. The Leafs should consider themselves lucky. Then theres the staggering of expiration dates. The contracts for Matthews and Nylander are up following the 2023 24 season, while Tavares and Marner can test free agency a year later. Ideally, the Leafs likely would have wanted all four attached to a different free agent class. Dubas did OK, since spreading these future issues over two years is not the worst case scenario. All of this would be cause for concern if the four players being handed the keys werent all under 30, ultra talented, tailor made for the modern NHL, and extremely motivated to win the franchises first Cup in 50 plus years. Overall, the Leafs are in tremendous shape relative to the past few decades. On Friday, they got some distracting business out of the way prior to the opening game of the exhibition schedule. That should be celebrated, regardless of the financial commitment. The Leafs also finalized something else. Their Cup window is officially set at four years. It could prove to be longer, but thats the baseline right now. Now, onto the hockey. is theScores national hockey writer. Copyright © 2019 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license. See Full Schedule

Pressure to perform Marner extension signals go time for Leafs
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