After signing his recent contract extension, Auston Matthews should be closer to Maple Leafs Nation than he was last week. Given his contract and the expectations that it could have been more, fans should be pleased that the team landed the big Arizona kid for four more years after 2023-24.
Is Auston Matthews Becoming Synonymous with Toronto?
In NHL hockey, sometimes players become synonymous with the cities they represent. For the Toronto Maple Leafs, it looks as if Auston Matthews might be one of those players. He’s quickly etching his name into the hearts of Leafs Nation.
As the ink dried on Matthews’ recent contract extension, many wondered if he could have squeezed out a few more dollars on the open market. He could have walked to free agency at the end of this season. That’s what Brian Burke had predicted when Matthews signed his last contact.
But Burke was wrong, and Matthews was good to his word. He said he wanted to stay with the Maple Leafs, and he did.
Did he even consider playing out his contract? After all, given that his talent is undeniable, he could potentially have earned a heftier paycheck with another team. But Matthews chose more than just the dollars and cents; he chose to be a Maple Leaf. He signed for a four-year term at $13.25 million per season.
Matthews’ Contract Extension Meant a Lot for His Team
I mean, really, Matthews salary is huge. That said, the deal was not just about the money. It was also about what it means for (and to) the team.
The contract won’t become an albatross that weighs down the Maple Leafs’ salary cap situation for years to come. Instead, it’s a manageable figure. And that’s essential when a team is trying to build itself into a contender.
General Manager Brad Treliving, who’s new to his role with the team, should be pleased. Matthews is now signed for four more years. Now he can focus now signing other key players, specifically William Nylander.
Many hockey pundits believe that Treliving has had a good start trying to mold this team into a champion.
Matthews Was What He Said: Committed to Maple Leafs Nation
Matthews’ decision to commit to the blue & white isn’t just about business. It turned out to be about loyalty. With his signing, he cemented his belief in the future of this team. It’s about becoming a part of Maple Leafs Nation, a community of caring fans who’ve been dreaming about a Stanley Cup championship for many years now – almost 60.
Now that Matthews is firmly in place, the journey to that elusive Stanley Cup can begin again in earnest during the 2023-24 regular season.