NHL

Is Knights' top line the best the Memorial Cup has seen?

​The London Knights’ Mitch Marner needs four points to break the Memorial Cup record of 16.

No trio in recent years has dominated the way Marner, Dvorak and Tkachuk are now

London's top line of Mitch Marner, left, Matthew Tkachuk, centre, and Christian Dvora (not pictured) is tearing up the Memorial Cup tournament. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

The London Knights' Mitch Marner needs four points in a single game to break the Memorial Cup single tournament points record of 16.

Considering he wasn't held to fewer than that in any of the tournament's three round-robin game, the chances are good.

As if that wasn't enough, the Maple Leafs prospect's linemates Christian Dvorak and Matthew Tkachuk have 10 and six points, respectively. Dvorak has netted a tournament-leading six goals.

So is this the best line the Memorial Cup has ever seen?

Marner is looking to become the first player since Corey Perry to finish a season as owner of the Red Tilson Trophy for the OHL's most outstanding player, Wayne Gretzky 99 Award as the OHL playoffs MVP and the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy, awarded to the Memorial Cup MVP.

Marner has often been compared to Perry, a former Knight. Perry has gone on to become a dominant player in the NHL, but in 2005 in London, his line didn't approach the level of the one London has now; it wasn't even the most efficient during that year's Memorial Cup.

The 2005 Knights won the Memorial Cup and sported a memorably strong team, but the most dominate three-man offensive unit that year was anchored by Sidney Crosby. London topped Crosby's Rimouski Océanic 4-0 in the final game, but Crosby's line stood out as being the strongest as he and linemates Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Dany Roussin finished first through third in the points race.

Crosby and his linemates' performance falls short of the pace that Marner, Dvorak and Tkachuk are on, though. The now-Pittsburgh Penguin led the tournament with six goals and five assists in five games, one point fewer than Marner's three-game total so far. 

Moving on

More recently, the 2010 Windsor Spitfires, building on a Memorial Cup in 2009, went on to win back-to-back titles, led by Taylor Hall and Adam Henrique, who finished first and second in tournament scoring with nine and eight points in four games. Furthermore, that Spitfires' title included 9-3 and 9-1 routings of the Brandon Wheat Kings during the tournament.

The Spokane Chiefs duo of Ray Whitney and Pat Falloon might hold the best argument against the current Knights line being crowned best-ever. The two were so powerful together during the Spokane Chiefs' 1991 Memorial Cup-winning season — combining for 131 goals — the San Jose Sharks picked them both with the two first picks in franchise history at the 1991 draft. During the Memorial Cup, the Chiefs outscored the opposition 22-8, with Whitney and Falloon leading the way.

In only a few days the Marner-Dvorak-Tkachuk line will be broken up. Marner is a Leafs prospect and there is talk he could join the Toronto Marlies next week for their American Hockey League playoff run if the team survives the weekend. Dvorak is a Coyotes prospect and Tkachuk will almost certainly go top-10 in the upcoming draft.

But before that, there is history to be made, and a reputation to cement.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now