FanPost

How much should Marner actually sign for?

Lots of media outlets have been speculating that Marner will break the bank and sign for 10 MM+. I'm certain that Marner's camp will want something along those lines, but I'm gonna argue why he doesn't deserve it.

Marner is scoring at a ridiculous pace this year. He's 9th in P/GM in a year where scoring is up, and he's only 21. The issue is, the whole league is scoring more. Last year 9th in P/GM was Phil Kessel at 1.12. This year, Marner is at 1.31. My point being, it isn't sufficient to look at past 21 year-olds who scored at nearly a 110-point pace because league scoring hasn't been nearly this high in the past few years. In fact, in the last 5 years excluding this year, the average 9th ranked player in P/GM had 1.03 P/GM. So yes, scoring is ridiculously high this year.

To be fair, let's include this year's 9th ranked P/GM to gain an accurate representation of what Marners comparables REALLY look like. In the past 6 years including this one, the 9th ranked P/GM was on average 1.075. If we rounded that to 1.08, I think around that number we'd find better comparables to Marner.

So what has Marner done so far? He's 21, playing in his third season and top 10 in P/GM. Using hockey-reference's player season index, we can find players that match him. Among 21-year-olds who scored between 1 and 1.16 P/GM we have Taylor Hall and Patrick Kane, both of whom did it during their contract year.

Hall was 6th in P/GM that year. He ended up signing a 7 year contract worth 6 million/year. The first year of the contract took up 10% of the salary cap. On the other hand, Patrick Kane was 13th in P/GM his year. He ended up signing for 5 years at 6.3 million/year. On CapFriendly, it says his contract was at 11.09% of the cap, but that was because he signed it in December during his contract year. Actually, the first year of the contract took up 10.6% of the salary cap.

If we simply take the average of the two contracts above, we get 6 years at 10.3% of the cap, which comes out to 8.55 million/year on the predicted 83 million salary cap. However, in my opinion, it would be in both sides interest to sign a 7-year deal, assuming Matthews signs for 8 years. The reason for this is because Nylander will be a UFA in 2024, Tavares (although he'll be 35) in 2025, and Matthews ideally in 2027 (if he signs for 8 years). That leaves 2026 to be the year for Marner. In all honesty, I don't expect Tavares to demand much money then, so 2025 wouldn't be bad either, but what they want to avoid is 5 years and 8 years because they don't want to have to negotiate with Marner and Nylander, or Marner and Matthews, respectively, at the same time.

My projection is 7 years at 8.8 million/year. It's slightly more than the 8.55, but we're buying an extra UFA year. I'm sure most Leafs fans would be happy with that as would I, and in my opinion that is a fair contract for both parties and is more comparable to his peers.

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