Late in the afternoon on Tuesday, news broke that Mitch Marner’s camp was exploring making a deal with Zurich in the Swiss league to train, and maybe practice or even play for the ZSC Lions.

The latest news as of writing this was that nothing official has happened yet.

Now, of course, there are some takes being made about this. Namely, that this is just Ferris going to his old bag of tricks, the same threat he and his player clients have made in the past. This is just more posturing and empty threats to try and force Dubas into signing him for $130 million dollars per game.

Or, maybe this is just Marner starting to take serious the idea that he might sit out for some of the training camp, and maybe some of the regular season as well. He’s gonna have to train somewhere, and if he wants something closer to a professional level of hockey then Europe makes sense. It is noteworthy that none of the “news” about this explicitly says that Marner is talking to Zurich for the purpose of playing there. What the tweet from ZSC DOES say is that nothing has even been decided about him training with them, let alone playing with them.

Of course, it seems kinda funny that he just so happens to be talking with the same team that Matthews played with the year before he was drafted. Jokes abound on Twitter that this is more of Marner trying to copy Matthews to prove he’s worth the same amount of money.

A+ tweet to whoever runs the Zurich team’s social media.

Or, maybe this is just Marner actually getting advice from Matthews, who are good friends remember, about where in Europe is a chill place with good facilities and players to train with. Hell, maybe Matthews offered to have Ema send him home cooked meals like Auston had.

I still think that Marner a) really wants to sign and play with the Leafs, and b) does not want to miss any of the regular season and maybe not any of training camp. He just saw what happened to Nylander, he might think he loses leverage if the Leafs start the season hot (like they did while Nylander sat out), and he might also legitimately worry that even if Dubas signs Marner eventually, that he will also trade him before his contract ends.

If he signs a shorter bridge deal, he might also lose future leverage if he struggles once re-joining the team much like Nylander did. He might also worry about the Leafs simply not having the money for him that he wants because of the cap issues.

I’m borrowing (read: stealing) a point Katya has made: Marner is stuck between a rock (absolutely wanting to play for the Leafs for his career) and a hard place (wanting to be paid as much or more as Auston), and he’s very soon going to have to pick which one of those he wants more because he ain’t gonna get both. He just ain’t.

My prediction, which is worth nothing but some bragging rights if I wind up being correct: Marner signs a contract right around the start of training camp, maybe even just before it. It’s a shorter deal, for an AAV that fans won’t like but will wind up being acceptable in the end.

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Lastly, Micah had some fun with his blob chart over time looking at the Leafs’ over the course of the season. It’s fun to notice when the red blob of death in front of the net became more consistent after December 10th. I wonder who joined the team around then...

Have a great Wednesday everyone!

When will Marner come to his senses and sign a deal?

Before training camp48
During training camp78
Right as the season starts91
After the season starts but before December 1st47
Next off-season32
In a thousand-thousand years, when we are all dust56