Mitch Marner has signed a deal everyone will hate but him, his heirs and dependants, and the rest of these guys:

The deal comes on the very first day of training camp for the Leafs, as they were facing down the start of the regular season, as one reporter put it today to Mike Babcock, short an entire line. With Zach Hyman injured, and John Tavares not yet in camp, the very unbalanced Leafs lineup looked like a one-line team. Tavares is set to join training camp soon, and if Marner is back as well, the band is almost back together heading into the regular season.

This deal is going to cause some cap headaches. Kyle Dubas mostly solved the cap crunch in the offseason, but he didn’t quite leave a hole big enough for Mitch Marner’s view of what he’s worth. The solution is going to be running a short roster of less than 23 players most of the time. The potential downsides of that is one of the costs of this deal.

Right now it looks like something on the continuum of painful overpay by a team who needed to get this player on the ice to a mild overpay of a future star. How you see that largely depends on how repeatable you think last year’s 94 points were.

Per CapFriendly, this deal buys an RFA year, three years of arbitration rights, and two UFA years. The downside of the timing is that this deal runs out the same time John Tavares’s does, and one year after Auston Matthews and William Nylander will be renegotiating their contracts.

In the interim, there is still a high expectation that the salary cap will rise, perhaps considerably. It is possible this contract with only be constricting on the Leafs for this season. But the way these things work is that there’s always someone else due a raise.

We will update you with more details when we have them, but for now the band is back together. Time to play some hockey.

Tentative cap calc: