February 4, 2019
It was reported by Chris Johnson on Headlines during the second intermission of Hockey Night in Canada that talks between young star Auston Matthews camp and Toronto Maple Leafs management have had encouraging discussions on a new contract extension. However, for those who wanted to see Matthews locked up to a long-term contract may be a little disappointment when he signs his new deal. Chris believes that although both sides would have loved to make an 8-year deal work, it does not seem very likely as they are looking at a 5-6-year deal worth somewhere between 11 and 12 million dollars per year. Since the Leafs are buying less of Matthews UFA years (which many believe would have seen Matthews making close, maybe even more, than Connor McDavid), the cap hit comes down as a result, which may not be the worst thing for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Everyone knows that they are heading towards a bit of cap crunch in the next few years as they have to sign Matthews, Mitch Marner, Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson and co. but general manager Kyle Dubas has stated numerous times he can, and he will keep the core together. As a result of keeping the young guns together, it may mean shorter deals than fans may like, but on the flip side this allows to keep salary cap prices slightly lower while keeping the Stanley Cup window open during that time. It has also been reported that the deal may get done before the Chris Johnson and the panel return to Headlines next Saturday when the Leafs take on divisional rivals the Montreal Canadiens for only the second time this season. This would of course rule out all those teams that have been preparing an offer sheet for the Arizona native, sorry Coyotes fans.
Confirmed: Matthews signs a 5 years extension for $11.634 miilion AAV on February 5th, 2019