With little progress made in contract talks between Mitch Marner and the Toronto Maple Leafs, the restricted free agent's camp has had discussions with the Zurich Lions about the possibility of training with the Swiss League club next month.
"Reports are accurate the Marner camp has had discussions with Zurich. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him go there to train in early Sept. Dubas and Ferris met last week. Positive talks, but no progress," tweeted TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger on Tuesday.
"Marner could pay the insurance premium and go to Leafs camp without a contract," he added. "What a circus that would be. Trade interest will grow as well as the days go by."
Sporting director Sven Leuenberger confirmed Dreger's report to Simon Graf of Redaktor Sport on Tuesday. The team also released the following statement on Twitter:
"The ZSC Lions have been asked by the European agent if [Mitch Marner] can participate in our practice. Whether and when the player will train with Zurich is not decided yet."
James Mirtle of The Athletic wrote last month that the Maple Leafs have offered Marner between just under $9 million to roughly $11 million per season on a potential new deal based on term and added that the team had discussed three, six and seven-year deals with Marner’s camp.
Marner, 22, scored 26 goals and posted a career-high 94 points in 82 games with the Maple Leafs last season.
He is coming off his three-year, entry-level contract and has tallied 224 points in 241 career NHL games.
Marner was drafted in the first round (4th overall) by Toronto in 2015 and was named to the NHL’s All-Rookie Team in 2017.
Marner is one of several high-profile restricted free agents who remain without a contract, including Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen, Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets forwards Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor and Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks.