The Fansided Network will be having a month long mock draft with each team blog selecting their team’s player. The first one up is Editor in Leaf, bringing the Toronto Maple Leafs selection of Mitch Marner.
Jr Team: London Knights
2014-2015 Stats: 126 Points
Accolades: Second most points in OHL.
There are so many good offensive players in this draft, and the Leafs certainly don’t miss out with Marner. His two points per game clip only was surpassed by Connor McDavid, the first over all pick in our draft.
McKeen’s Hockey has this to say on Mariner’s skills:
"“A highly skilled and intuitive offensive player whose game reading ability is off the charts – able to dance all over the ice and make plays both forward and backhand .. attacks the middle of the ice and is not afraid to go into danger zones .. deploys a hair-trigger release and finding optimum scoring chances”"
The knock on Marner has been size, but he’s put up junior numbers comparable to John Tavares and Tyler Seguin. He’s 5’11, which isn’t bad, but the 165 frame is the concern. He has time to grow into himself but might struggle a bit with this early on.
Keep in mind his point totals trailed just Strome and Marner played in five less games.
How He Fits
Editor in Leaf has a quote from assistant general manager Kyle Dubas regarding Marner (via Sportsnet)
"“Here’s the way I look at it,” he said. “Right now, we aren’t good enough to be picky about smaller players. We need as many elite players as we can. If we get into playoffs and are too small, or overwhelmed, it’s easier to trade small for size than draft for size and trade for skill.”"
Quite simply, the Leafs need offense and Marner brings it. Not that they wouldn’t prefer one of the top two, or even Dylan Strome, but Marner is a solid addition.
Marner and William Nylander are the top prospects in the Leafs system now. Nylander was their first round pick last season.
Toronto does have a chance to draft Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin, but Mike Babcock and his Leafs have the need for offense. Hanifin wouldn’t be a surprise, but it will be tough for them to pass up a hometown player with serious offensive skills.