May 15, 2019 | 10:14am ET
MARNER THE MAIN PRIORITY FOR TORONTO
RW Mitch Marner
The Toronto Maple Leafs have made it clear their top priority this off-season is to get star winger Mitch Marner locked up to a new contract.
Marner, who can become a restricted free agent July 1, is believed to be looking for a deal worth around $11 million per season, while the Leafs are reportedly hoping to sign him closer to $9 million, annually.
Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan and GM Kyle Dubas met with Marner’s agent, Darren Ferris, on Tuesday and the two sides are expected to speak again soon.
“The makings of a potential agreement are there, in that we love the player and the player loves Toronto,” Shanahan, who signed a new six-year contract extension with the Leafs, told the Toronto Star. “It’s really our job now to make that happen.
“As (Dubas) said, it’s really our No. 1 priority. We think he’s a special player. That is probably the best basis you can have for a starting point, that both sides would like a deal to occur.”
The Leafs remain confident a deal with Marner will be reached prior to the free agent doors opening, and it has been speculated Toronto wants to get a deal done before the NHL Draft in late-June.
With the Draft just over five weeks away, negotiations will likely get kicked into high-gear very soon, but could prove to be difficult if Marner’s camp holds firm to its $11 million salary demands.
In 82 games this past season, Marner registered 26 goals and 68 assists for 94 points.