Mitch Marner and Brayden Point are two of the top Restricted Free Agents (RFA) in the NHL today, and they’re also two of the most comparable players. Both are right-handed shooters, high-end scorers and two of the top young players in the league today.
Both Point and Marner scored more than 90 points last season, and when it comes to fantasy hockey drafts, the chances of landing both of them are slim to none. So, who do you pick? Although both are great choices, let’s weigh the pros and cons of the two to see who holds the most value on your fantasy squad.
For our standard scoring settings, we will base the stats off of goals (G), assists (A), penalty minutes (PIM), game-winning goals (GWG), and power-play points (PPP).
Goals and Assists
This really depends on what kind of player you’d like. Marner took a lot of shots but only ended up with 26 goals, whereas Point took more than 40 shots less than Marner and scored 41 last season. Thus far through their careers, Point has 198 points in 229 career games. Marner is at 224 points through 241 career games and has the edge so far in his career for total points, but Point has 91 goals compared to Marner’s 67. If your league values scoring goals more than assists, Point is the way to go, but if there’s no difference, Marner might be a slightly better option.
Neither Marner nor Point are going to get you much in terms of penalty minutes. Marner had just 22 last season — a career-low — and Point had 28 minutes, the highest of his career. This will likely be the last reason they’re drafted and neither are great options when it comes to penalty minutes.
Last season, Marner had five game-winners for the Maple Leafs and he has 12 in his career. Point had seven and led the league in 2017-18 with 12 game-winning goals. He has a knack for finding the net in general, but when the Lightning need a late-game goal when Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov aren’t on the ice, Point is the go-to guy. Marner is still a clutch player when it comes to setting up the game-winning goal for Auston Matthews or John Tavares, but Point is going to light the lamp.
Last season, Marner had just three goals on the man advantage, but he had 18 assists which shows he can find the open space. As for Point, he scored 20 goals on the power play last season and added 15 assists. The Lightning power play is consistently one of the best in the league, and Point has only added to their success. If your league puts a premium on power-play scoring, Point is the guy to go with.
For advanced scoring formats, we will factor in short-handed points (SHP), shots on goal (SOG), time-on-ice (TOI), hits, and blocks.
Last season, Point played just over six minutes while shorthanded, whereas Marner played over 110 minutes on the penalty kill. He had one goal and two assists and Point wasn’t on the score sheet at all. Obviously, Marner is getting more opportunities on the penalty kill and is a good value choice for shorthanded points.
Shots On Goal
Marner had 233 shots on goal last season which was 32nd in the league. Point only had 191 shots on goal, but he scored more often. In his three NHL seasons, Marner is averaging 201 shots on goal per season and Point is only averaging about 176 shots on goal a season. There’s no question that this statistic favors Marner.
Marner’s average time-on-ice last season was 19:49, more than three minutes more than his previous two seasons. Point was playing about 18:55 a night, which is over 30 seconds less than in the 2017-18 season. According to Daily Faceoff, Marner is on the Maple Leafs’ top line with Tavares and Zach Hyman, and Point is on the Lightning’s second line with Yanni Gourde and Tyler Johnson. Thus far in their careers, Marner has played almost a minute less than Point on average, but since he’s on the top line, Marner gets the edge for average ice time.
Hits and Blocks
These are lumped into the same category because neither Point nor Marner are going to get you much for either statistic. Last season, Marner had 43 blocks and 29 hits. Point also had 43 blocks last season and 31 hits. Both players have no issue lying down in front of shots for their team – especially Marner in the playoffs – but they aren’t in those situations too often. In his career, Point has 131 blocks and 96 hits; Marner has 107 blocks and 101 hits. It’s basically a toss-up for these two statistics.
Who to Pick
As was stated earlier, there really isn’t a bad option between the two. Right now, both are RFA’s and have been the talk of the league in terms of offer sheets and getting a new contract, but for the purposes of the article, let’s assume both will be signed with their respective teams by opening night. With those circumstances, it would be wise to see what statistics your league values and which player better fits the mold.
Looking at the numbers, Point has two wins for standard scoring in game-winning goals and power-play points, but Marner has three wins in advanced scoring for shots on goal, average time-on-ice and shots on goal. Point’s categories might be valued more, but some league’s put a premium on advanced scoring and that would play to Marner’s value.
It should be noted that most of the statistics are based on last year, and with neither signed to a new contract yet, it remains to be seen if they will play in the NHL this season. Both are great options and should be taken if they’re available, but make sure you know how your league scoring works. If more value is on goals and power-play points, Point should be your first choice. However, if there are more point values for shorthanded goals, ice time and shots on goal, Marner is the guy for you.