Mitch Marner is an outstanding offensive player. In 70 regular season and playoff games, Mitch Marner scored 75 points at even strength, which is better than most draft eligible players scored in total. He added 61 on the power play and another 6 shorthanded so the young man was an offensive threat in all situations, and that's for sure. My list of CHL comparables goes back to 1981 and in the 35 seasons that database encompasses, Mitch Marner's adjusted points per game is seventh overall. That's pretty darn good, especially since Marner's accomplishing all of this as one of the younger players available in this year's draft.
It sounds like we're talking about a guy in the conversation to be drafted first overall. We're not. He's clearly behind Connor McDavid (one of the six guys above Marner on the list mentioned above) and Jack Eichel (who's establishing a new best for forwards coming out of the NCAA). That makes sense. But, curiously, Marner doesn't have the third spot locked in. Bob McKenzie and McKeen's have him fourth, Future Considerations has him fifth, and International Scouting Services has him sixth. I'll show my hand now and say that I think they've all got him too low.
If you're expecting a glowing list of comparables, prepare not to be disappointed. In this case, a comparable player was someone who played his draft year in the CHL, had an adjusted goals per game rate between 0.67 and 0.82 and adjusted points per game rate between 1.79 and 2.19 (90% to 110% of Marner's production), and was selected somewhere between 1st and 9th overall. Here are the results:
The only player on that list you might describe as disappointing is Derick Brassard, but the large gap in age suggests that Marner is likely to have this offense translate to the NHL at a higher clip. And Brassard isn't exactly chopped liver! His career points per game rate in the NHL is 0.59 and he was the Rangers' leading scorer in this year's playoffs. The best stylistic comparable on this list is probably Drouin, but unfortunately, he's only just starting his NHL career so there's not much for us to glean about Marner's future except for perhaps a concern that both players have heard about size.
The only two significant pieces I've heard mentioned are size and position. Marner is just 5'11'' and 160 lbs., the lightest player at the combine. While it's easy to say that he just needs to add some weight to his frame, adding that weight can sometimes have an adverse impact on a player's effectiveness. It's not a big concern, but it needs to be noted. In terms of position, Marner can play center, but he's been playing on the wing, and that's likely where he projects at the NHL level, the position generally considered to be the least valuable.
For me, neither of those things are enough to push Marner down from third overall. The likely offensive upside is just too much to pass up.
Next up this afternoon: Jeremy Roy
Introduction to Comparables
Connor McDavid - Comparables
Jack Eichel - Comparables
Dylan Strome - Comparables
Ivan Provorov - Comparables
Noah Hanifin - Comparables
Timo Meier - Comparables
Lawson Crouse - Comparables
Jakub Zboril - Comparables