The next time the Toronto Maple Leafs commit a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty, you can bet Mitchell Marner will be the one skating directly to the box. Whether Marner was involved in the bungled line change or not has nothing to do with it. Marner, who hasn’t been featured on the penalty kill since he graduated from junior, says he’s happy to take one for the team. "To be honest, I’m just jumping over the boards before anyone else to go there. Usually I’m looking. I either get the tap or I’m going already," says Marner. "It’s a chance to get on the ice quickly, to get that first first shift back." Despite the argument that serving bench minors is a task best reserved for less-impactful forwards — or, worse, a passive-aggressive way for a coach to toss a guy in the doghouse — the Leafs drop Marner in the box for what they believe can be a competitive advantage. Heck, it’s worked in Washington, where Alex Ovechkin often serves the bench minors and presents a threat with the clock strikes 2:00. The one (rare) drawback is that if the opposition takes a penalty while on the power play, the Leafs could be deprived of one of their best four-on-four players.
Why Mitch Marner always serves Maple Leafs’ bench minors
Sportsnet | Feb 24