The play of one Leafs superstar has fans irate and for good reason

Mike Armenti
December 23, 2023  (2:10 PM)

Photo credit: NHL

If you go through the game logs individually and separate his productive games from his unproductive games, Mitch Marner's 2023-24 season has been a borderline disaster.

Considering that Marner makes $10.9M per season, you'd expect a lot more consistency, but some will probably be shocked to learn that he has played 11 games where he has not registered a single point, and 5 games in which he has notched 3 or more points. In those 5 games, he has racked up 17 points, which makes up half of his 34 points.
Since Marner has tallied half of his points across a 5-game span, it means that he has only produced 17 points across other 25 games, which would still be respectable if his salary wasn't as high as it is and if the eye-test was a positive experience. Well, unfortunately for Marner, the eye test has been bad and the $10.9M salary has led to a lot of criticism.
Per Evolving Hockey, Marner has provided a pretty significant negative impact for the Leafs this season at 5-on-5 compared to his excellent powerplay contributions. It's also worth noting that his presence on the 2nd line with Tyler Bertuzzi and John Tavares has made the line substantially worse, especially when it comes to expected goals for percentage.
Just how bad has Marner been this season at 5-on-5? Well, if you compare his chart to that of Ryan Reaves, who is almost unanimously cursed for his poor two-way play this year, they're not all that dissimilar. Yes, Marner plays a lot more than Reaves does, but he is also paid like a superstar, whereas Reaves is not. As such, you'd expect these charts to look drastically different.
Marner has had two separate 3-game stretches this season where he has failed to record a point, with a 3rd possible 3-game pointless stretch possible tonight if he fails to get on the board against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Simply put, a $10.9M player cannot allow a 3-game pointless streak to occur once every 10 games. Marner has also experienced an 8-game goalless drought already this season as well, which only makes things look worse.
Yes, Marner has 34 points in 30 games on the season, which is very strong production. No, he has not been good enough this season. These two things can both be simultaneously true.
The Leafs need a lot more consistency out of Mitch Marner and we know from various reports that Marner also expects a lot more out of himself. We've seen him play well for long stretches in the past, so whether it's a preparation thing or a health thing, Marner needs to do whatever he can to get right, because what we've seen from him so far this season just hasn't been good enough.
The play of one Leafs superstar has fans irate and for good reason

Has Mitch Marner provided value up to pair with the $10.9M per year he's being paid?

Yes43644.1 %
No55355.9 %
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