Touch: Marner’s playmaking ability is among the very finest in the league due in large part to his soft touch. Whether he’s drawing a teammate into a high-danger area or delivering a saucer pass through sticks and bodies, he typically puts the correct weight on the puck and places it right in his target’s wheelhouse.
Creativity: Though his coaching staff may not love it, Marner is willing to attempt passes and one-on-one moves that most NHLers wouldn’t dare try for fear of reprisal. He’s particularly fond of between-the-legs maneuvers but will also perform quick pivots and spins to evade defenders. He can create space that seemingly wasn’t there to be had.
Vision: If an opening is about to present itself, Marner will see it. He’s an exceptionally quick thinker, which is evidenced by how little time is required for him to generate an opportunity once he gets his hands on the puck. Combined with his soft touch, this makes him a formidable playmaker.
Strength: Marner’s greatest shortcoming is not his size but rather his lack of pro-level strength. He ranks among the weakest star forwards in the world, routinely losing puck battles and struggling to maintain possession in the trenches. Sometimes, he forgoes those battles altogether because he knows he won’t win them.
Shot: Most pass-first forwards simply prefer playmaking. That tendency may be a necessity for Marner, who boasts a junior-caliber wrister that simply doesn’t challenge NHL goaltenders from distance. Well-coached clubs recognize this flaw and instruct their players to sag off Marner, essentially coaxing him into shooting because it isn’t a legitimate threat.