During the intermission of the Summer Showcase between Canada and Sweden on Friday, Mike Babcock was interviewed by TSN’s Brent Wallace. The interview focused primarily on Leafs’ prospect and Team Canada forward Mitch Marner. While interviews like these are typically filled with throwaway comments, Babcock mentioned that Marner could play with the Maple Leafs next season.
— theScore NHL (@theScoreNHL) August 5, 2016
Brent Wallace asked the question:
“Could he, though, be a Leaf next year, is the question. A lot of people are talking about Mitch Marner having to get bigger and stronger. Do you see him fitting into the roster this upcoming season?” – Brent Wallace
Babcock’s answer was an encouraging one for Leafs fans:
“I sure think he has a good chance. Mitch has been working with our guys and really training hard. He’s eating right and doing everything he can to get stronger. To say Mitch has got to put on a bunch of weight, to me, is ridiculous. I have a son who has had trouble putting on weight too. They work at it hard. All you’ve got to do is get stronger. You are who you are. Be the best Mitch you can possibly be. He’s got a lot of summer here left and he’s just got to keep working at it. But he’ll have a real good chance to make the Leafs.” – Mike Babcock
After being taken with the fourth overall selection by Toronto in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Marner had another superb season with the London Knights in the 2015-16 season. In 57 games, Marner scored 39 goals and 116 points with a plus-45 rating. Even more impressive, though, was his playoff run where he played in 18 games and scored 16 goals and 44 points. Over his last 120 regular-season games with the London Knights, Marner has totaled 83 goals and 242 points.