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Three Reasons Mitch Marner Is the Maple Leafs’ Best Player

Last season Auston Matthews was widely known as the Toronto Maple Leafs’ best player. Has that changed? Is it now Mitch Marner?

Thought One: Mitch Marner Is Rising Up the Maple Leafs Career Assist Totals

In the OldProf hockey blog, Toronto Maple Leafs’ writer Stan Smith reviewed the recent game between the Maple Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres. Although the Sabres came back to win the game, the loss does not diminish the play of Mitch Marner in that game.

Marner is having a fantastic season, especially when it comes to racking up assists. His ability to create scoring opportunities for teammates has been a huge factor in the Maple Leafs’ success this season. Right now, Marner sits fourth in the NHL with assists with 61. Connor McDavid is first in assists with 72.

Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs

Marner is on pace to become just the third Maple Leafs’ player to reach the 70-assist mark in a single season. That’s an impressive feat. His ability to consistently produce at such a high level has made him one of the league’s most dangerous offensive players.

If Marner can continue his torrid pace, he’ll surpass some of the franchise’s all-time assist leaders. Right now, he’s seventh all-time in franchise history in total assists. Regardless of how he finishes the season, Marner has established himself as one of the premier playmakers in the NHL.

Related: Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 4-3 Loss to the Sabres

Thought Two: Perhaps Matthews vs. McDavid Should Be Marner vs. McDavid

It’s understandable why people usually focus on the Matthews versus McDavid comparison. Both are incredibly talented players and former first-overall picks. They have been compared to each other since their draft year. As well, both have achieved much in their careers.

However, in a recent Sportsnet video, Kyper and Bourne discussed why Maple Leafs’ Marner has emerged as Maple Leafs’ best player this season. They believe the headlines should be Marner vs. McDavid when the Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers play.

They share that, during the most recent Oilers’ game, the better comparison was Marner versus McDavid. That’s because Marner playing at an extremely high level. His ability to make takeaways and block passes (he’s first in the NHL) has contributed to his success as both an offensive and defensive player.

They note that Marner’s career highlight reel could be from that game alone. He was that impressive. His takeaway and subsequent goal was an example of his skill.

Marner’s all-around game, including his ability to create scoring chances for his teammates and his defensive play, should put him in the conversation for the Selke Trophy. The Sekle is awarded to the NHL’s best defensive forward. His performance against the Oilers only adds to his case for consideration for this prestigious award.


Thought Three: Wendel Clark Sees Lots of Doug Gilmour in Mitch Marner

In another recent video (shown during the intermission of Monday’s Maple Leafs vs. Sabres game), Wendel Clark was interviewed by David Amber. In that interview, Clark noted that his old teammate (and Maple Leafs’ great) Doug Gilmour and Marner share many similarities.

First, they each can read plays and create scoring opportunities for their teammates.

Second, both have exceptional on-ice vision.

Third, both are skilled playmakers who can distribute the puck effectively to set up their linemates for success.

Doug Gilmour, Maple Leafs Great

Fourth, both Gilmour and Marner are versatile players who can play different roles and adapt to different situations on the ice.

Fifth, both Gilmour and Marner can easily be moved and will be successful on different lines up and down the lineup. Clark noted that both players have played on multiple lines during their time with the Maple Leafs.

Sixth, both Gilmour and Marner can make things happen on the ice, even when things seem to be going against them. They surprise opponents.

Seventh, both Gilmour and Marner can make big plays when their team needs them most. Both share the ability to seize the moment and make a difference in important games.

Related: Ex-Maple Leaf Wendel Clark Weighs in on Current Leafs Stars



  1. Pingback: Three Reasons Mitch Marner Is the Maple Leafs’ Best Player Its Playoff Hockey Fantasy Hockey News - Its Playoff Hockey

  2. Bob

    March 15, 2023 at 6:28 am

    Until Marner wins a Hart, Lindsay, 2 Rockets and a Calder or any individual trophy he will always be no. 2 as the Leafs best player. These types of articles are ridiculous to begin with, like any true Leaf fan cares who’s best. They only serve to be devisive, and frankly are incredibly juvenile. Bottom line is they’re special players which make the Leafs a very good hockey team. I’m also including Nylander as he’s as skilled as the other two.

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