Report: Blue Jackets have been at forefront of Mitch Marner offer-sheet negotiations

Kyle CantlonNHL Editor
With or without an offer sheet, Mitch Marner is going to get paid. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
With or without an offer sheet, Mitch Marner is going to get paid. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Much like the Kawhi Leonard situation that Toronto found itself trudging through over the past couple weeks, everybody seems to have an opinion on what’s going on with Mitch Marner’s contract status — but (pretty much) everybody actually knows nothing.

Speculation, speculation, speculation. That’s what we get this time of year.

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From an $11.5-$12.5M offer sheet that was supposed to be on the way from Lou Lamoriello and the Islanders, or Marc Bergevin and the Canadiens, to the claims that Marner won’t settle for anything less than “Matthews money,” a lot of trash has been swirling but none of it has actually landed in the bin. Yet, anyways.

Thankfully, Elliotte Friedman and his 31 Thoughts podcast exist, and one of the real trustworthy insider voices in the industry gave us an update on the Marner-Leafs-offer sheet saga on Thursday, when he revealed that it was actually the Columbus Blue Jackets who have been spearheading the most aggressive effort to land the dynamic winger.

“This is what I’ve heard about Marner, and, again, everybody is being quiet so we’ll see how close to the truth this actually is. Last Friday when Joey (Vendetta mentioned the potential imminent offer sheet), everybody was talking about the Islanders, I think there was another team before that and my belief is that team was Columbus. I think they were thinking about it,” Friedman said.

“From what I heard, ... If Columbus was going to do it, it had to be for seven years. And I think what I heard Marner was looking for — or what his side was looking for — was less term than that.”

If Columbus or any other team is willing to give up four first-round picks for Marner, it makes sense for teams to shoot for a seven-year term. It’s for that reason Friedman feels the offer sheet fell by the wayside.

“I’ve had multiple people tell me that if anybody was going to do it, it would be Columbus,” Friedman added.

He also summed up where he feels Toronto is at in regards to negotiations, noting that in his opinion, Marner really wants to remain with the Leafs and the team wants him back as well.

But Marner apparently still feels he should be up in the Auston Matthews salary range, which seems to be a sticking point as of now.

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