If you had ‘August 20th’ in your RFA office pool, take a bow.
I’m of course not talking about the date by which we should’ve expected most of these RFAs to be locked up — that day has long passed — but rather when the first predictable “Mitch Marner is considering going to Europe” reports would surface.
Honestly, it took a way longer than I thought.
On Tuesday, Sportsnet’s Rick Dhaliwal finally provided the update we’ve all been craving — a vintage move straight out of agent Darren Ferris’ handbook.
24 days to training camp and still no Brock Boeser deal.
Some RFA ’ s might be looking for a place to play if no deal, European source tells me Mitch Marner camp has already contacted the Zurich Lions of the Swiss League.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) August 20, 2019
Rumblings like this are one thing, but it’s important that Marner’s PR rep, er, TSN Insider Darren Dreger, confirms any Mitch-related rumours — which he did just over an hour after Dhaliwal dropped the initial report.
Marner could pay the insurance premium and go to Leafs camp without a contract. What a circus that would be. Trade interest will grow as well as the days go by. https://t.co/5IH1f1TELk
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) August 20, 2019
So with training camp less than a month away and no contract in sight (at least not publicly) for Marner, this is the stage in the negotiation where Ferris and his camp typically leak some nonsense about a star player they represent seriously considering their options outside of the NHL.
The up-and-coming agent has tried a similar tactic — with little success to show for it — with some of his previous, bigger-name clients. A familiar source was pushing the Euro narrative back in 2017, too.
Don’t get me wrong: the whole threatening to leave the NHL thing has been used as a negotiating tactic for quite some time, but the predictability of this one — and who’s behind it — makes this whole thing laughable and obviously impossible to take seriously.
In case you were wondering, neither Athanasiou nor Bennett ever got close to suiting up for an overseas club, and I’d bet several of my own limbs (and yours) that Marner won’t get anywhere near that point, either.
Ferris’ game plan here sure is an interesting one, especially considering, like, absolutely zero people think this will actually happen. Yeah, we’re all just big dumb infants who will for sure believe that an elite 21-year-old player will spend one of his prime years in Switzerland, just a season out from an almost-guaranteed NHL lockout.
A numerically astute NHL GM like Kyle Dubas will surely fall for that one, too. Negotiation season is so fun.
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