Auston Matthews opted for the Swiss Pro League ahead of his draft instead of dropping into CHL junior hockey, staying with the USA Development Program, or taking a spin in College hockey. He wanted to play against men and prove himself against professionals before jumping to the NHL.
Fast forward a few years later and now Mitch Marner is following in the Maple Leafs star’s footsteps, down to the exact team. Yes, as confirmed by Darren Dreger *cough* Paul Marner *cough* Mitch Marner has been in contact with Zurich:
Reports are accurate the Marner camp has had discussions with Zurich. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him go there to train in early Sept. Dubas and Ferris met last week. Positive talks, but no progress.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) August 20, 2019
Hey, it helped Matthews become a man, so I guess Marner needs to take that step too, right?
If you believe Marner is going to Zurich for anything other than a practice or two to stay sharp while his contract negotiations creep into some barely known area of the CBA that makes his already agreed-upon deal beneficial for both team and player, give your head a shake.
Marner is going to be a Maple Leaf this season, with a long-term extension (more than one-year) likely already agreed upon in principle. What makes me think this? Gut feeling, I guess. But, Dubas is shockingly brilliant, the team is set up to win now and have sustained success for a long time, and Marner is a hometown kid.
Dreger did also mention that Dubas and Marner’s agent Tim Ferris have continued to talk, capping it off by saying “but no progress has been made”. Take it with a grain of salt, progress would be a trade or a signed contract. Until either happens “no progress” is what will be reported, and it isn’t negative.
If you clicked on this thinking it would be a hit piece on Marner and his apparent affiliation with Zurich, I apologize. I can’t bring myself to hate a player who is making a massive decision with their professional career, and I also firmly have faith that Saint Dubas will/has already convinced him to stay.
— ZSC Lions (@zsclions) August 20, 2019
Also, Zurich playing along with a throwback tweet to Auston Matthews time in Switzerland should tell you all you need to know about this situation. Marner may go over there to get in shape ahead of the season due to cap-dictated situations, but don’t get carried away on his future being in Europe or even on another NHL team.