Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, who is tuned into the Leafs, reports that there is progress in the contract talks with Mitch Marner just as training camp opens in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

This sort of report is a strong and serious hint that the Leafs and Marner are absolutely trying to finalize a deal. This is not the kind of report that means they are simply exchanging phone calls.

Okay, so Dreger is saying here that Johnston scooped him.

Edited to add, this is fabulous:

It could be this or maybe that. All possibilities are possible.

One of the things that might be pushing both sides towards a deal is that the practices have started at training camp, and the Leafs are without John Tavares (on paternity leave), Zach Hyman (injured), Travis Dermott (injured) and Marner. The rosters for the camp teams look like this (shared on Twitter by Kristen Shilton):

It’s hard to find more than one and a half decent NHL lines in that mix. And the fastest way to improve it is to toss Mitch Marner in the mix.

So, with the first hint that this saga may end before training camp ends, it’s time to place out bets again and ask: How horrifying will this contract be? Or if you’re an optimist: How great will it be?

I rounded up the usual suspects here to get some new predictions on this, and I’ll start with mine, because it hasn’t changed since the last time we did this.

Katya: 3 years at $9.75 per year and done before the start of the season.

Hardev: 2 years at $9 per year and done by the end of the day.

Species: 3 years at $9.755 per year and signed the day before Matthews is named captain.

Brigstew: 7 years at $11 per year

Nafio: It’s going to be dumb and it’s going to be November

Fulemin: 3 years at $9.4

Your turn. Do you think this gets done before the season starts? And what’s the damage?