Maple Leafs prospect Mitch Marner called 'elite talent' after summer showcase
The Maple Leafs already know prospect Mitch Marner is a special player -- the organization proved as much when they selected Marner with the fourth overall pick in this year's draft. They even passed up on the best defenseman in the draft, Noah Hanifin, to take Marner.
But the rave reviews continue to come in about one of the newest members of the Maple Leafs after Marner put on a show at the Canadian World Junior Summer Showcase. He left a lasting impression on TSN analyst Craig Button.
"Mitch Marner is an elite talent. There’s no other way to put it," Button said in an interview on TSN radio. "You start to talk about talent, so you’ve got an elite talent, right? He’s a big-time competitor, and then you add in the third factor, which is that he’s exciting. That’s a hat trick of a player to me. You’ve got all the elements. There’s lots of players that are very skilled, there’s lots of players that are very competitive, but that exciting part of it – that’s the third part of it – really, really makes him a real joy and a treat to watch."
Marner signed with the Leafs earlier this summer, but he will have to impress the team's brass at training camp as much as he impressed Button if he hopes to make the Toronto roster for this season. Marner just turned 18 years old in May, so his youth also makes it more likely that he will return to junior hockey for at least one more season instead of making the jump to the NHL this year. But as a player who posted 126 points in 63 games for the London Knights last season, it would not be totally unheard of if Marner does show up to training camp ready for the NHL.
(h/t Maple Leafs Hot Stove)