It feels like every so often, something not so great comes out about Mitch Marner and his camp.
It all reminds me of a certain song from a certain Leafs fan, and it’s the message a good portion of Leafs Nation feels about Marner.
I’m talking about the hit single Let Me Love You, by DJ Snake, featuring Toronto Maple Leafs diehard Justin Bieber.
On Tuesday, The Leafs Nation’s Nick Richards tweeted this bit from a recent James Mirtle article from The Athletic:
A few things stand out. While I’m not sure how true these are, they do come from a pretty credible source and site.
1. Mitch Marner is struggling with the weight and pressure that his new lucrative deal brings.
2. Mitch Marner has had stretches where the idea of being traded is legitimately affecting him.
3. Both of those presumably impacted Marner’s game this season.
4. The Leafs front office is prepared to offer him the support needed to bring him back into the right headspace.
As easy as it is to ridicule Marner for struggling because of the contract he held out for, I feel like it’s much more concerning than people are taking it as.
If this is all true, it appears that Mitch Marner is legitimately struggling due to the pressures of his new contract. Marner made it clear throughout the negotiations that he had left it all in the hands of his camp. So while I don’t feel pity for him because of his contract and also because of the fact that he had the ability to step in earlier, he’s struggling with something that he left in someone else’s hands.
That, plus the gruelling pressure of playing in the Toronto market (mostly due to media, fans, etc.) probably won’t do Marner any favours.
This isn’t the first time issues from Marner and his camp have been revealed.
Earlier this week, Elliotte Friedman said this on the 31 Thoughts Podcast:
“There’s a certain amount of paranoia that comes from some people close to Marner. Not from him, but it’s around him. There’s a sentiment that he’s not respected or that the team doesn’t like him & they’re gonna trade him. But I’ve learned that it’s not necessarily reality.”
Oh boy. Are you seeing the connections I’m seeing? It probably isn’t a coincidence that Mitch Marner has been struggling with the idea of being traded, and that it was recently revealed that people close to Marner are expressing the sentiment that he may be traded.
It sounds like a toxic environment. It’s clear that the Toronto Maple Leafs think very highly of Mitch Marner, with Friedman going on to say:
“The organization really thinks highly of him as a person, and as a player, they think he has a chance to be in the Art Ross conversation for a long time. He didn’t play as well as they hoped, but I think they see a lot there. I’d be shocked if he got traded.”
If the Toronto Maple Leafs wanted to trade Mitch Marner, they wouldn’t have inked him to that deal. It’s as simple as that. The Leafs love Marner, Marner loves the Leafs, and everyone covering the situations have said the same.
It isn’t the first time Marner’s family has been noted to have a large influence on Marner’s career.
Throughout the Marner negotiations, Mitch Marner’s dad, Paul Marner, was reported to have had a strong influence on the negotiations.
Or that time Paul Marner campaigned to get Marner into consideration for captaincy.
And then there’s also this old CBC segment that… doesn’t portray Paul Marner in a positive light.
What Was That About Justin Bieber?
Oh, right. At this point, “Let Me Love You” has to be a common sentiment from Leafs Nation, even Bieber himself. It’s not every day you can watch a hometown kid start his career in the organization he cheered for growing up.
But the Marner negotiations spoiled it. And then Marner’s lacklustre performance this season ruined it.
Mitch Marner needs to figure out if his environment is healthy for him and how he’ll fix it. I don’t know Marner, I can’t speak to if there is an actual issue in his inner circle, that’s not up to any of us to decide.
What I do know is that when Mitch Marner isn’t having fun, he’s not the Mitch Marner that performs the best. Marner’s game is notably a high-energy, happy-go-lucky playing style. So while Marner produced at an impressive clip for most of the season, you could see it in his playing style, he wasn’t playing nearly as he had in years prior.
So, Mitch Marner, on behalf of Leafs Nation, do what you think you need to do. Just let us love you again.
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Featured Image via @austonmatthews on Instagram