Dubas calls Marchand’s tweet on Marner’s next contract ‘a master troll job’

Dubas calls Marchand’s tweet on Marner’s next contract ‘a master troll job’

in Mar 06, 2019


Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas had to hand it to Brad Marchand — that was a great tweet.

A star winger and resident pot-stirrer for the Boston Bruins, Marchand mused on social media Tuesday about how many millions of dollars in annual average value Mitch Marner will see on his next contract with Toronto after the NHL’s public relations department touted the young forward’s offensive prowess.

“I cant wait to see this kids new deal… 12m AAV?? It better be,” Marchand wrote before adding the hashtag #Marnerwatch.

Dubas smiled when asked about the Twitter post Wednesday at the conclusion of the league’s GM meetings at the swanky Boca Beach Club.

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“Oh man, I think it was a master troll job, to say the least,” Dubas said. “You have to respect that element of it.”

Marner, who had 81 points in 66 games this season heading into Wednesday’s road tilt against the Vancouver Canucks, can become a restricted free agent on July 1 and will be looking for a significant raise.

The 21-year-old is the first member of the Leafs to record 80 points since Phil Kessel in 2013-14, and the eighth player in franchise history to require 66 or fewer games to reach the mark.

Marchand said following Tuesday’s victory over the Carolina Hurricanes that he was just trying to point out Marner’s accomplishments, but Boston’s super pest appeared barely able to contain a smirk as he answered.

“Some people really took that the wrong way,” Marchand said in Boston. “You gotta give the kid credit. He’s a great player, that’s all I was trying to get at.

“Just giving some credit where credit’s due.”

The Bruins beat the Leafs in seven games in the first round of last year’s playoffs, and the Atlantic Division rivals appear on another collision course this spring as the No. 2 and 3 seeds behind the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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Apart from helping Boston’s top line combine for 30 points, Marchand was at his antagonizing best in the back-and-forth series, including an infamous lick to the face of Toronto winger Leo Komarov.

“The part that I liked about [the tweet] was there’s over a 90 per cent chance we’re going to play them in the playoffs, if you just take the probabilities of it,” Dubas continued. “He woke up in the morning of a game day and was thinking about the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“I thought [that] was a positive thing for us.”

Dubas and the Leafs have already dealt with the contracts of two other potential star RFAs in recent months.

Toronto signed William Nylander to a six-year, US$45-million contract on Dec. 1 to end an impasse that saw him miss the first two months of the season before Auston Matthews reached a five-year, $58.17-million extension on Feb. 5.

Nylander’s AAV is $6.962 million, while Matthews has an AAV of $11.634 million.

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Marchand no doubt knows the Leafs could be in a salary cap crunch with Marner’s looming payday, and likely couldn’t help but needle the organization and its fans.

“It’s become a great rivalry,” Dubas said.

The first-year GM added the injury to Jake Gardiner, who is out week to week with a sore back, is not related to the back spasms that kept the defenceman out of two games before January’s all-star break.

Fellow blue-liner Travis Dermott is also on the shelf with a shoulder ailment for at least another three weeks, pressing the likes of Justin Holl, Igor Ozhiganov and Martin Marincin into service.

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“It’s unfortunate,” Dubas said. “We need Jake, we’d love to have him and Travis Dermott, but injuries happen during the year. We’re in a division with teams that have had a number of injuries — Boston and Tampa — and they’ve been able to withstand them.”

But Gardiner and Dermott both went down after the NHL’s Feb. 25 trade deadline, meaning the Leafs were unable to plug the potential holes externally.

“If you have injuries, if they’re going to be long-term, you’d like to know that when you can still make different additions to the roster,” Dubas said. “But I don’t know that we would have really been willing to part with anything significant given that these are just week to week.”


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