With everyone focused on Matthews breaking records, Marner quietly sets new franchise record

Published April 3, 2022 at 1:19 PM
BY MIKE ARMENTI
After last season's disappointing first round exit at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens, there were a lot of negative feelings directed at the Leafs and Mitch Marner, specifically. I've never bought the narrative that he doesn't try or that he didn't try in that series - I just think he tried a little too hard.

With so much of the fan base left with a sour taste in their mouths from last year, the first half of the 2021-22 season was not enough to move the needle for many Leafs fans, particularly when the goaltending issues began.

What we've seen over the past few weeks, especially following the acquisitions of Ilya Lyubushkin, Mark Giordano and Colin Blackwell, is a much more refined, well-rounded and focused Leafs team who is dead set on changing the narrative.

I don't think you'll find too many people that would argue with the fact that the Leafs' success this season has been spearheaded by the team's top line of Michael Bunting, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, but while most eyes are focused on Matthews and his pursuit of a second consecutive Rocket Richard Trophy, Marner has quietly been the most productive player in the National Hockey League since the start of 2022.


Marner is currently boasting 1.71 points per game since January 1st and is on pace for an astonishing 100 points in just 73 games, which would blow past his previous career high of 94 points. In addition, with Marner's 2-assist performance on Saturday night, he set a franchise record for most points over a 33-game span in Leafs history, ahead of the likes of Lanny McDonald and Darryl Sittler.

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The narrative right now is that none of this matters until the Leafs can finally break through the glass ceiling and experience some playoff success. The fact of the matter is that Marner's success has a lot to do with why the Leafs are in a position to challenge for home ice advantage in the playoffs and it will also be a big reason why the Leafs do finally get past round one, if it happens this season.

Matthews and Marner no doubt learned the hard way last season that consistency is everything. They appear to have built some very good habits this year and that should go a long way in helping the Leafs to get the proverbial monkey off their backs when the games really begin to matter in May.
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