So far, Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Mitch Marner is having a Memorial Cup to remember — and soon it could also be a performance worthy of the record books.
Coming into the CHL championship, the London Knights winger was riding a 16-game playoff point streak that has since been stretched to 19 games after he's notched at least a point in all three of London's wins. (He’s scored 57 points in 21 postseason games). On the opening night of the Memorial Cup, Marner scored two goals and three assists for five points in the Knights’ 6-2 rout of the host Red Deer Rebels. That five-point performance was just shy of the Memorial Cup record of six points in one game last done by Mike Mathers, for the Kamloops Blazers, in 1992.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) May 24, 2016
Following that five-point performance, Marner has gone on to record eight more assists in London’s two wins — the team booked a spot in Sunday’s final after going 3-0 in round-robin play — giving him 13 points for the tournament so far.
The record for most points in a Memorial Cup stands at 16, achieved by Jeff Larmer in 1982 and Guy Rouleau in 1986. With one game remaining, Marner could easily match — or exceed — that record given he’s currently scoring at a rate of 4.33 points per game. Marner’s 11 assists thus far could also threaten to topple the 31-year-old record of most assists in a Memorial Cup — 13 — set by Dan Hodgson in 1985.
But beyond his scoring prowess, Marner could become a Triple-Crown winner of individual CHL awards. Already the owner of the Red Tilson Trophy, awarded to the OHL’s most outstanding player, along with the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award as the OHL’s playoff MVP, Marner is a front-runner for the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy, given to the Memorial Cup’s most valuable player.
The last player to take home all three trophies was none other than Knights alumnus Corey Perry, which is perhaps fitting seeing as how this current Knights squad has drawn comparisons to the 2004-05 team —largely considered the best in franchise history — that won London’s first Memorial Cup. (This year’s Knights playoff record of 16-2 mirrored that of the ’04-’05 team, who went on to complete a perfect 4-0 Memorial Cup performance.)
In fact, Marner has been so good this tournament, there’s talk of the Toronto Marlies, down 0-3 to the Hershey Bears in the third round of the Calder Cup playoffs, recalling him after the Memorial Cup concludes to help boost their offensive output. To make that possible, though, the Marlies would need to win the next two games to stretch the series beyond Sunday, when the Memorial Cup final is scheduled.
In an interview this week with the Toronto Star’s Kevin McGran, Marlies GM Kyle Dubas said calling up Marner would be a “a much larger scale discussion.”
“We’ll see where we’re at, but most important where he’s at physically,” Dubas told the Star. “It’s been a lot of hockey this year: the world junior camp, our rookie tournament, NHL exhibition, OHL regular season, world juniors, four rounds of playoffs, Memorial Cup. We’ll see where Mitch is at, have a discussion with staff, and go from there.”
For now, however, Marner has a Memorial Cup final to attend — and perhaps a few records to break.