Toronto Maple Leafs: Mitch Marner discusses playing with John Tavares

Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs gets set to face the Buffalo Sabres. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs gets set to face the Buffalo Sabres. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Mitch Marner recently spoke about the idea of playing with new teammate John Tavares and didn’t waste time getting in touch with the Toronto Maple Leafs big signing.

It appears that Mitch Marner approves of the Toronto Maple Leafs decision to sign John Tavares.

The 21-year old spoke with Mike Zeisberger of about the big splash the team made in free agency along with some about his offseason. Obviously, a lot of the attention has been on Tavares with a lot of anticipation around the impact he will have this upcoming season.

Head coach Mike Babcock has gone on record saying that he plans on playing Marner and Tavares together which comes with excitement but a challenge at the same time.

"“Very exciting. [Tavares] is obviously a great player. He can really put the puck in the net and that’s very important for my game, since it’s no secret that I like to pass.” Marner told Zeisberger."

Another interesting note that the winger points out about playing with Tavares also means that he’s going to have to take his game to another level.

"He also creates a lot of open space and creates a lot of opportunities by doing that, so he’s really good at feeding his linemates, too. Because of that, I have to be ready to shoot the puck more as well. The bottom line is, we’re deep down the middle, so whoever you’re playing with, there’s a good chance to be successful. I’m very excited to get back on the ice and get a routine going with all the guys.”"

As Marner points out he doesn’t shoot the puck as much as people would like which he has been criticized for but it has improved. Last season as he scored 22 goals last season and improving from176 shots in his rookie season to 194 in his sophomore season.

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His season had a big turnaround post-All-Star break when he had 15 goals, 20 assists, and 35 points in 31 games. That was a big improvement on the seven goals 27 assists, 35 points that he had in the first 51 games.

One reason why Marner saw an increase in production was an increase in shooting percentage which went from 6.4 per cent pre-All-Star break to 17.9 per cent in the final stretch. Another factor was that Babcock moved him to the second line where he played with Patrick Marleau and Nazem Kadri.

Playing with Tavares should help Marner reach his full potential considering how he was able to help players like Josh Bailey and Anders Lee establish career highs playing with him.

What has kept Marner busy as Zeisberger points out is his charity work as he’s hosting an event with teammates and fellow NHL players called the Marner All-Star Invitational.

Any work for charity should be recognized and celebrated and what Marner is doing dates back from what he learned during his time with the London Knights.

"“It’s always been in my mind to start a charity event of my own. I’ve been to a lot of them that other players have done and noticed the impact they’ve had on their respective communities. It’s been awesome,” Marner told Zeisberger.“When I played junior with [London of the Ontario Hockey League], we’d tour the hospitals and see the impact we’d have on the kids. It’s amazing. That’s what ( is all about.”"

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Marner has certainly shown maturity throughout his development and one thing that the Leafs have wanted to see from their young players is that they show growth both on and off the ice. Safe to say Marner is a great example of that.