The tactic involved Babcock asking a rookie to list his teammates based on their work ethic during the club's annual fathers' road trip - which occurred in January 2017 of that season - as first reported by the Toronto Sun's Terry Koshan. The Athletic's Ian Tulloch later reported that the rookie was Marner.
Once Marner complied, Babcock revealed the list to the players who'd been listed at the bottom, according to Koshan.
Marner addressed the incident Monday and said he's thankful for how his teammates handled what could've been an ugly situation.
"It was just surprising," the 6-foot winger said, according to TSN's Kristen Shilton. "I was lucky enough that the guys that were there with me, none of them took it to heart and they knew it wasn't up to me.
"It was huge for a first-year guy," Marner said about his teammates' support following the incident. "When I heard about (what Babcock did), I didn't really know what to think. But I was lucky enough to have that first-year group with me and our team was very tight and very well-knit together. That was a lucky situation."
Babcock - who was fired by the club last week in his fifth campaign behind the bench - expressed his regret about the decision but said he had nothing but good intentions for his young player.
"I was trying to focus on work ethic with Mitch - focusing on role models - it ended up not being a good idea. I apologized at the time," Babcock said.
Marner, who remains sidelined with an ankle injury he suffered Nov. 9, has recorded four goals and 18 points this season.