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NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Mitchell Marner

AJ Haefele Avatar
May 11, 2015

 

Get to Know Mitchell Marner

Date of Birth: 05/05/1997
Place of Birth:  Markham, ON, CAN
Ht: 5’11”  Wt: 160 lbs
Shoots: Right
Position: Center
Team: London Knights (OHL)

Mitch Marner is a player who has been on the NHL’s radar for the last several years as a player to watch. As Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel dominated the headlines, Marner, a first round selection in the 2013 OHL Draft, quietly went about his business and turned in one of the most impressive OHL seasons of the years.

Highly touted since his early teens, Marner has had the good fortune of playing in large shadows his entire career, from playing in the same draft classes as the ridiculously hyped McDavid and Eichel to playing for the history-rich London Knights. Playing with NHL draft pick Christian Dvorak, Marner’s first OHL season saw him score at nearly a point-per-game pace, extremely impressive for someone his age.

His sophomore season began slowly as he and his team struggled out of the gate with a lackluster opening 10 games. Ultimately, Marner found his footing and he exploded for 126 points in 63 games before adding 16 more in 7 playoff games as his Knights fell in the second round to McDavid’s Erie Otters.

With him likely to be selected in the top 5 of this year’s draft, it’s finally time for Marner to emerge from the shadows and prove he belongs in the elite company his production suggests he’s part of.

Statistics

What Scouts See

eliteprospects.com:

A dynamic offensive forward that backchecks hard and establishes his presence through playing smart, puck-possession hockey. A very quick skater gifted with great hands and hockey sense. Battles hard in all three zones and shows a willingness to do whatever it takes to get the puck to the back of the net; an unselfish player. Embodies the definition of a dynamic number-generating machine who makes the players around him better.

Brock Otten, OHL Prospects:

Really rising in my eyes. His play with London has been absolutely exceptional the last few months. Such a high energy player who can affect the game in a variety of ways. In puck pursuit, he’s quite relentless and he forces a lot of turnovers on the forecheck. But he’s got the vision and hockey sense to find teammates, while playing at a high tempo.

He makes such quick decisions and rarely turns the puck over in the offensive end. His skill level is also incredibly high and I think he’s the perfect type of player for today’s run and gun NHL. With his tenacity, and as he continues to add strength, I don’t see his average size being an issue.

What BSN Avalanche sees

From the games I’ve watched, there’s very little I’ve disliked about Marner’s game. Offensively, he’s the complete package. He works hard in the dirty areas of the ice, is comfortable playing any style of game and has skills for days. Great vision, great hands, and sneaky good shot is never a bad combination. His skating is good but he’s more quick than fast, which allows him to excel in tight spaces. Defensively he works hard and generally reads the game well.

Marner’s size is basically the only thing keeping him from being an elite two-way prospect. He plays hard on the defensive end and he doesn’t mind getting his nose dirty but at 160 pounds he’s not going to be an imposing force and could be the primary factor if he is not in the NHL next season. He must bulk up if he’s going to sustain the rigors of the NHL, especially if he ends up in the Western Conference.

Highlights


NHL Potential

Marner’s high-end offensive skills and elite production profile him as a second line center at worst and an elite, game-changing offensive dynamo at best.

Expected Draft Position

Marner is ranked anywhere from 3rd to 6th depending on the list being used but it would be a minor upset come draft day if he slides out of the top 5.

How Does Marner Fit in Avalanche Organization?

It would take a sequence of comical decisions in order for Marner to fall to Colorado’s selection at 10th overall but were he to be selected by the Avalanche, he would immediately become the organization’s top prospect and compete for NHL time immediately. He is a natural center but Marner did spend some of his London career playing on Christian Dvorak’s wing so it would not be surprising to see him make an immediate push for playing time on the wall, much the way Nathan MacKinnon did his rookie season.

 

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