2015 NHL Draft Profiles: Mitch Marner

Mitch Marner – 5’11, 160-pound forward from the London Knights (OHL)



Rankings

  • 6th by ISS Hockey
  • 5th by Future Considerations
  • 4th McKeen’s Hockey
  • 4th by Bob Mckenzie consensus rankings

Mitch Marner Strengths

  • Incredible offensive talent – One of the most striking aspects about Marner’s game when I first saw him play is his tremendous calm and patience with the puck in the offensive zone. Where some players like Stamkos or Ovechkin display that dazzling speed and ferocity with the puck, Marner reminds me more of a John Tavares, who just seems to be casually gliding around playing shinny without a care in the world. That’s not a knock on him – he’s just that good. When the puck is on his stick, he seems to be able to just slow the game down and survey the ice to find a streaking teammate or pick the corner through a crowd. There’s no panic to his game. His ability to change pace, weave around defenders, make passes and pick corners provides him with an elite package of offensive skill.
  • Defensive play – While he gets most of his accolades for his ability to put the puck in the net, he offers a surprisingly effective two-way game. He is a pesky player in his own end, aggressive with his stick in the passing lanes and always a threat to force a turnover and turn it into a rush chance the other way. He did not shy away from big game situations, playing brilliantly in the OHL playoffs before succumbing to a head injury.

Mitch Marner Criticisms

  • Size – It’s the usual critique here for players under 6’0. Marner could use some more time in the gym to continue adding core strength. Despite that, he’s already quite effective at protecting the puck while on the rush.

The Verdict

  • The Whole Package – Marner has every chance to be a franchise calibre forward around which you can build an elite scoring line. There are some concerns about ability to keep up with bigger, stronger forwards down the middle of the ice, so it is possible he could end up permanently on the wing. His vision and creativity in the offensive zone is unparalleled outside of Connor McDavid. He’s a responsible, well-coached kid and should be a perennial all-star in this league for many years to come. If I haven’t made myself quite clear yet, let me do so right now: In my books, Marner is the third best player in this draft and would be an excellent pick-up in the four spot.
  • Draft Day – This is where things get interesting. The Coyotes and the Leafs should both have the inside scoop on Marner and know him very, very well. The Coyotes would have seen Marner play with Domi on a number of occasions and would be quite familiar with the chemistry and comraderie those two share. On the other hand, the Leafs have the obvious London Knights connection with the Hunter brothers. For this reason, from the trio of Marner/Strome/Hanifin, Marner is the single player I will be hoping lasts past the Coyotes selection. If the Maple Leafs don’t walk away from the draft with Mitch, that’s perfectly fine – I just want them to have the opportunity to say no because there is no doubt that they’ve done their homework on him.

Mitch Marner Career Accomplishments

  • 1st Round Selection, 19th Overall, in the 2013 OHL Priority Draft
  • Previously played with the Don Mills Flyers Minor Midget AAA and the St. Michael’s Buzzers Jr. A
  • Won an OJHL Championship with St. Michael’s and silver medal in the OHL Gold Cup in 2012-13
  • Represented Ontario at the World U17 Tournament in January, 2014
  • Won London’s Peter Guertin Longshot and Rookie of the Year Awards in 2013-14
  • Won a gold medal with Canada in the 2014 U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament
  • Named Pioneer Energy OHL Player of the Week for the week of October 27th-November 2nd, 2014
  • Named CHL Player of the Week for the week of October 27th-November 2nd, 2014
  • First OHL Hat Trick on November 1st, 2014 vs. Windsor Spitfires
  • Represented the Ontario Hockey League at the Subway Super Series in November, 2014
  • Named Pioneer Energy OHL Player of the Week for the week of November 17th– 23rd, 2014
  • Named CHL Player of the Week for the week of November 17th-November 23rd, 2014
  • Named CHL Player of the Month for the month of November, 2014
  • Named Ryobi’s Hardest Working Forward in the month of November
  • Named Channer’s Player of the Month for the month of November
  • Represented Team Cherry at the CHL Prospect Game January 22, 2015
  • OHL Player of the Week February 16-22, 2015
  • Voted Western Conference’s Smartest Player
  • Finished the season as the London Knights Leading Scorer (2014-2015)
  • Jim Mahon Memorial Trophy Recipient (2014-2015)

Mitch Marner Interview

Courtesy of The Pipeline Show:

On his season:
Obviously, I’m pretty happy with the season so far, but it’s not just me; it’s the guys I’m playing with and the team I’m playing with that have helped me on and off the ice. With Max Domi being on the team, he’s a big leadership guy and he’s helped me this year a lot, telling me to just kind of play my game and not focus too much on the draft. I think that’s really helped out. At the start of the year I think I was thinking too much about the draft, and that’s why I wasn’t doing so well. I kind of forgot about that and just played my game and everything’s been rolling since.

On his break out offensively:
I think it’s just because Dale and Mark have so much confidence in me this year. I think them showing that to me is making me feel a lot better about my game. I think I have a lot more confidence out there on the ice with the puck, and I think playing with skilled guy like Christian Dvorak and Max Domi and Matt Rupert, they’ve helped me on the ice and I wouldn’t be where I am with the points right now if it wasn’t for those guys. Everyone else on our team chips in, too, our defence has been playing really well for us; they’re good at getting the puck up quickly to the forwards and they’re making it easy on us.

Which 5-point game was your favourite?
I had one against Windsor; I think that was my first hat trick night. That was pretty fun, obviously, putting up five points. As I said, those points wouldn’t have gone up without my teammates. That was my first hat trick night, so obviously getting three passes from my linemates that I was lucky enough to put in. I have guys on my line that are obviously great at finishing and all I have to do is get them the puck and I know they’re going to do magical things with it. If it comes back to me, I have to be ready at all times. I think my linemates are ready for the puck at all times, too, and I think that’s why we’re doing so well as a line. I think that’s why we’re all putting up great points.

On his back to back 5-point nights half way through the season:
The first night happened, it was my first hat trick night and I was pretty speechless and happy with my game. I played a game that next night, and I came home and my billet made a joke, “I want another hat trick out of you tonight.” I got lucky enough and put in four at home. It was a great night for me. My linemates were obviously moving the puck really well that night. Obviously, getting back-to-back five point nights isn’t just because of yourself, it’s because of the guys you are playing with. I wouldn’t have done it without them.

On surpassing statistical goals for himself:
My goal was to try to get 90-95 points. I was trying to get 25 goals and a got amount of apples. I’ve come past that now and now I’ve got to try to go higher.

On the size issue:
I never thought I was really that small. Everyone around me was always taller than me, but my parents were great and even my older brother, they were always supportive. They said, “no one is too small to play in the NHL.” People think that they’re big, but it matters how you play against them. That was a big thing I always wanted to keep in mind, that a player is as big as he wants to be in his mind. I’ve always thought of myself as a big player and I like to play kind of a hard game even though I’m a little bit smaller than everyone else. Now I’ve kind of grown into the bigger body and it fits me better. The best thing about being a small kind of guy at first was you realize what you have to do and realize what you have to be in the corners, and you always have to keep your feet moving or else those big guys are going to try to trap you in. I think getting a little taller helps me out; kind of realizing I still got to keep moving my feet, and it helps draw penalties when you’re a bigger guy and getting grabbed like that. Even though I’ve grown a little bit, I think it’s helped me a lot being that smaller player at first.

On his best comparable:
I like to try to model my game after Patrick Kane; obviously, he’s a great player. I’ve heard a lot about Giroux, too, but another player I kind of want to model my game after is Gilmour. He was a guy I always looked up to when I was younger. When I was a young kid watching the Leafs, they were my hometown (team), he was a big name in my household. I want to grow up and be that kind of a player. I try and model my game now after Patrick Kane the most.

Mitch Marner
LONDON, ON JANUARY 16: Mitchell Marner #93 of the London Knights flips a pass forward against the Windsor Spitfires in an OHL game at Budweiser Gardens on January 16, 2015 in London, Ontario, Canada. The Knights defeated the Spitfires 5-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) Mitchell Marner

Experts Take: Mitch Marner

Mark Edwards (@MarkEdwardsHP) speaking about Mitch Marner on The Pipeline Show:
Marner is a kid that I have seen a lot of, not just in a Knights uniform, but even going back to his minor midget year. A really creative player, great vision; a really smart hockey player, which is obviously always attractive for any player. Fantastic puck skills. The first time I saw this kid, he was about 5’7, 135. Obviously you don’t think NHL draft at that time, but I knew he had the potential to be really be good in the OHL if nothing else. And then he just got bigger. I know going into the Memorial Cup and coming into this year, he was measured at a hair under 5’11. I think the weight is up closer to about 160. This is a really well rounded player. I watched a game really early in the season with a scout from a team; he wasn’t an Ontario area guy, he was just in and kind of getting his first look. It was really interesting; he made the comment, “you just don’t see player this good that backcheck that hard.” I think that says it all about Marner right there; how well rounded he is, how much better he’s gotten in all facets of the game.

I really think that the size will come. It already has in a lot of ways obviously. His brother was really late growing as well. I don’t know if it’s going to be same thing. I think his brother is about 6’2, I saw him in the rink one day. I just think that Marner is so good that he’s one of those guys who can just play in the league even if he’s not the prototypical size. You got to figure, he’s a hair under 5’11, when he becomes a man so to speak, and I don’t think there’s a hair on his face still, he’ll bulk up and get strong enough. I’m not concerned about it, as our ranking says. I think we have him at 5, we had him four midseason and flipped him with Zacha in the last one.

Sean Lafortune (@SeanLafortune) speaking about Mitch Marner on The Pipeline Show:
I would probably take Mitch Marner there [number three] only in the fact that his offensive tools are off the charts. His in-close puck skills, his pace, the way he reads the game; it’s funny, I watch a lot of these guys in minor midget, you watched him and he was 5’4-5’5 in minor midget, and he always had the skills but you’re worrying about the strength and everything coming in. It’s funny seeing people at the NHL now worrying about him only being 5’11, and you’re just like, “man, he’s already grown seven inches, what else do you need from the kid?” Just his high-end puck skills, you can’t teach that sort of stuff. For me, it’s Marner, but if it’s a 3, it’s a 3A with Strome.

Craig Button (@CraigJButton) speaking about Mitch Marner on The Pipeline Show:
When it’s close like that [between Marner and Strome], I always default to the centerman. I will 100% of the time take the centerman over the winger. I think it’s close between Dylan Strome and Mitchell Marner, I think it’s razor thin close. With that being said, Mitch Marner poses a little bit greater challenge in my view because I think he’s a unique winger. I think most wingers are skate up the ice, shoot, and have speed or what not; he can shoot, but he’s a playmaker and he’s a creative player off the wing. You don’t see a lot of players like that. I’m certainly not suggesting it would be an easier one, but for me I default to the centerman. I just think number one centers are so hard to find. I use the Chicago Blackhawks; yes, they drafted Patrick Kane, but they did that knowing they had Jonathan Toews in the fold. I think that that always becomes a factor for your organization. If you have a couple of centers or a center that you think is really good, then Mitch Marner is not a guy you would pass on. But if you don’t have that number one center, I’m taking the number one center.

 

Mitch Marner Statistics

 GPG1st Assist2nd AssistTotal PtsNHLeES PtsES PPGES Pts/60%ESTOITMPt%TMGl%%TGC
Marner6344532912649600.983.2630.20%46.84%16.36%13.07%

Glossary via CHLstats:
NHLe - The number of points the player would have scored if they were in the NHL this year. Translation factors are based on Rob Vollman’s research which currently sets the WHL and QMJHL as 0.26 while the OHL is 0.3.
TmGl% - Team’s Goals Percentage: What percentage of your goals account for the team’s goals in all games.
TmPt% - Team Point Percentage: what percentage your points account for all of the teams scoring. Currently is based on every goal scored by the team.
%ESTOI - Percentage of ES TOI: As we all teams do not play equal even-strength time per game we represent this as a percentage. Compares TOI for prospects without special teams adjusting the results.

Mitch Marner Video

Mitch Marner – Shift by Shift:

Mitch Marner – Highlights:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTYeAfqQ1vE

More on Mitch Marner: Leafs selected Marner 4th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft

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