Boston Bruins

Feb 24, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN: Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand celebrates after scoring his second goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first period at Air Canada Centre. (Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

Feb 24, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN: Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand celebrates after scoring his second goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first period at Air Canada Centre. (Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Brad Marchand is an excellent hockey player, but he might be even better at needling people on Twitter. This time, it appears he is trolling the Toronto Maple Leafs over the next contract for their star winger, Mitch Marner.

In case you haven’t noticed, the speedy, dynamic Marner has taken a leap forward in his third NHL season. He’s scored 81 points through 66 games, a 101-point pace. He’s the fastest Leaf to 80 points since Dave Andreychuk did it in 59 games during the 1993-94 season. So the 21-year-old stands to make a hell of a lot of money on his next deal, which could rival Auston Matthews’ $11.6 million AAV on his recent extension for Toronto.

Could it be tough for the Leafs to keep Marner around? It will if he commands the kind of money that Marchand says he deserves.

It’s possible that Marchand was sincerely giving Marner props. And it’s not totally outrageous to suggest that Marner may command $12 million per season as a free agent, which would give him the second-highest salary in the NHL behind only Oilers center Connor McDavid ($12.5 million).

But just knowing how Marchand likes to mess with people on Twitter, it’s only natural to first assume that he’s trolling the Leafs. He’s basically telling them, “You know it would be a reeeal shame if you couldn’t afford one of your best players under the salary cap.”

With Matthews locked up for the next five years at $11.6 million, John Tavares signed through 2025 at another $11 million, and William Nylander signed for $6.9 million AAV starting next season, the Leafs will have their work cut out for them paying Marner what he deserves and keeping the rest of the team intact.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.