The Leafs announced today that they have re-signed Auston Matthews to a new 5 year deal worth an average of 11.634 million per season.
Having scored 97 goals and 178pts in 187 career regular season games, while adding 5 goals and 7pts in 13 additional playoff games, Matthews has been a formidable presence offensively.
He began his career with a bang by scoring 4 goals in his first NHL game (and winning the hearts of Leafs Nation), while going on to a 40 goal, 69 point rookie season, and earning the Calder Memorial Trophy for rookie of the year.
He followed his rookie season up with a 34 goal, 63 point season, while playing in 62 games, and helping to lead the Leafs to their best regular season point totals in franchise history.
So far in his 3rd year in the league he has 23 goals and 46 points through 38 games, again raising his point per game totals as he did from years 1 to 2.
This is a hefty contract that will take Auston to unrestricted free agency, and it has many questioning Kyle Dubas’ ability to negotiate with his RFAs, as it doesn’t appear to be any type of discount and will only buy 1 year of unrestricted eligibility.
If you ask me the real crime here is the elimination of control over the contracts players are signing after their entry level deals are done. It used to be that the players signed “show me” deals, even if they were high draft picks or have had some early career success. Chicagos Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, for example, signed for 11.09% of the cap on their 2nd contracts and went on to have great success in the playoffs. Anze Kopitar (11.99%) and Drew Doughty (10.89%) also took a smaller slice of pie on their 2nd deals and went on to win the Stanley Cup twice.
This has many fans wondering if the chunk of money players such as Matthews, Nylander, and soon Marner, will take is too much, and if it will effect the teams ability to ice a roster capable of winning the cup.
We shall see.
Auston Matthews year by year breakdown:
Year 1: $15.2M SB, $700K salary.
Year 2: $15.2M SB, $700K salary.
Year 3: $9.7M SB, $750K salary.
Year 4: $7.2M SB, $750K salary.
Year 5: $7.2M SB, $750K salary.
That’s $54.5M in SB, $3.65M in salary.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 5, 2019
The Auston Matthews ask on an eight-year extension was in the range of Connor McDavid's 16.67% of cap hit. So a ~$13.8M AAV based on projected $83M cap.
The #leafs delayed more than $2M AAV per for five seasons, but will have to negotiate again with Matthews at age 26 to do it.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) February 5, 2019
News conference at 4 pm ET with Auston Matthews & Kyle Dubas will be live on TSN4, TSN Direct & the TSN App https://t.co/NOjoqnG4EU
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) February 5, 2019