Auston Matthews forced to explain why he refused long-term deal with Maple Leafs

He fessed up:



When Auston Matthews’ next contract extension was announced by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, it was also revealed to the fans that management was looking to sign the star forward to a much-longer contract.

However, Matthews’ camp reportedly wasn’t looking for a deal longer than four years, which he finally got, along with an AAV of $13.25 million, which will make Matthews the league’s highest-paid player beginning in 2024-25, surpassing Colorado Avalanche top forward Nathan MacKinnon’s $12.6 AAV.

Matthews was asked on Friday to explain why he didn’t want to sign for longer term and possibly end his NHL career in Toronto:

“It wasn’t [like] I just woke up and was like, we’re doing a four-year deal. It was a lot of long conversations. A lot of thought. A lot of just going to bed thinking about it, praying about it. And in the end, this is kind of what I felt most comfortable with.”  — Auston Matthews

He also added that his choice was about finding the right balance and thinking of himself.

When asked about his relationship with new general manager Brad Treliving, Matthews explained how impressed he’s been with the new GM ever since he took over.

“I’m really excited about the moves that he made and the guys that are coming in…I think they’re going to help our team a lot…Obviously, it wasn’t an easy situation for Brad to come into.”

Treliving also only had good thing to say about his star player, despite not locking him down for longer than four seasons.

“I really enjoyed this process of getting to know Auston…He’s a remarkable young man…He’s an independent thinker, really cerebral.

“The bottom line is you’re talking about one of the world’s best talents. And in the situation he was in, he could’ve come in and demanded a lot more than what he got.”

Matthews could have earn more cash, but it was probably more important for him to get a shorter term. Sorry folks, that's just the way it is...