Restricted free agent right winger Mitch Marner finally ended a rough negotiation battle and agreed to a six-year contract extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night. The Leafs announced that the average annual value of the contract is $10,893,000 against the salary cap. Marner, 22, ranks now third among the club's highest-paid players behind centers Auston Matthews ($11,634,000) and John Tavares ($11 million).
Among the league's wingers, the cap hit ranks second behind New York Rangers free agent acquisition Artemi Panarin ($11,642,857). Negotiations between the Leafs and Marner during the offseason were contentious, holding up the signings of a number of restricted free agent forwards around the league that included the Tampa Bay Lightning's Brayden Point and the Calgary Flames' Matthew Tkachuk.
Marner's negotiating team reportedly discounted the deals of other forwards around the league while focusing on the contract numbers Matthews, with a five-year deal, received earlier this year. At one point in the negotiations, with Toronto and the player not close to reaching an agreement, Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas indicated that the club might not match an offer sheet if Marner signed with another team.
Marner played in 82 games for the Maple Leafs last season, totaling a career-high and team-leading 94 points (26 goals, 68 assists). In 241 NHL regular-season games during his three-year career, he has collected 224 points (67 goals, 157 assists), along with 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 20 career Stanley Cup playoff games.
Marner was drafted by the Maple Leafs, his hometown team, in the first round (fourth overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft.
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