Toronto Maple Leafs can shift focus on Stanley Cup after signing Mitch Marner

Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs breaks around Johnny Gaudreau #13 of the Calgary Flames. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs breaks around Johnny Gaudreau #13 of the Calgary Flames. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Kyle Dubas made a big push to sign Mitch Marner and the Toronto Maple Leafs can now concentrate on winning instead of contracts.

The Toronto Maple Leafs made one thing clear with Mitch Marner‘s contract extension, they are ready to begin the season free from any contract distractions which is obviously a welcomed sight.

General manager Kyle Dubas made the bold statement last year when it came to locking up  his core to long-term deals famously saying, “We can, and we will.” Dubas certainly lived up to his word and now it is time for the players to live up to the big deals and shift their focus on winning a Stanley Cup.

We can fixate on how much Marner got on his deal and that it’s probably a bit of an overpayment by Toronto based on comparable contracts but all that goes away if the team can win in the end.

More from Tip of the Tower

Knowing that Auston Matthews, John Tavares, William Nylander and Marner are locked in to long-term deals also provides Dubas with an idea of what he has to do to maintain a contender. Sure there are many question marks on the blue line especially at the end of this season but that’s a problem for next off-season.

Right now, the goal is to try and determine what the team is going to need to do to put themselves in a better position to go deeper in the playoffs. Some of that was addressed by trading Nazem Kadri for Tyson Barrie and Alexander Kerfoot plus getting Cody Ceci for Nikita Zaitsev. The Leafs are banking on those moves to give more stability on the right side.

What will also be important is to have the players signed to expensive contracts take a big step. Regardless of who the depth options are on the Leafs, that won’t matter unless the core players perform at the level that is expected of them.

Marner will be a big part of that especially with his $10.893 cap hit which makes him the second-highest paid winger (based on AAV) and seventh highest-paid player in the NHL. With that big cap hit come big expectations and he can silence a lot of doubters with a big season.

This is a player who scored 94 points last season but anything less than that won’t help justify making close to $11 million. Fortunately for Marner, he got a big stamp of approval from management with his new deal and now it is up to him to live up to it. We can get frustrated and say how much we think he got overpaid but in the end, all that goes away with a big season.

Not only did Marner not get the same contract as Matthews which is reportedly what he wanted, but the Leafs also don’t have to go through training camp wondering if or when he will sign.

Also seeing the cap increase like it has will provide the Leafs with space they’ll need to figure out other deals while also relying on their draft picks to fill in the gaps. While we see these big cap hits, it’s important to remember what percentage of the cap is being taken up by these players.

It is time for Leafs fans to prepare for the next few years and hope that the players that have been signed to big deals can provide the results. That’s the important thing and will continue to be as long as this contending window stays open.

Next. Projecting the Leafs blue line for opening night. dark

What are your thoughts on the Marner contract? Is it too much or enough? Let us know in the comments below.