As you know, Colorado Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon signed a massive contract earlier this week, an eight-year extension worth $12.6 million annually, making him the highest-paid player in NHL. His signing also prompted reporters in Toronto to ask about Auston Matthews’ next contract. While general Kyle Dubas was asked how he and the team are preparing to make sure they can keep Matthews, questions also focused on what the player himself wants to do.
Matthews did sound off on what the future could look like, though he does not want to talk about this once the season is underway.
And yes, the future does appear to take place in Toronto.
“I think I’ve been clear. I love my time in Toronto. I consider it home.”
Per Mike Stephens, Matthews said that “he loves how the city of Toronto has embraced himself and his family. He’s grown into his own skin here and that it’s a special place to play.”
Matthews couldn’t help but comment on MacKinnon’s new contract, and how it may or may not relate to his own contract situation a couple years from now.
There is still time : Matthews is set to become a free agent in July 2024.
The focus is on the season and getting a longer run into the playoffs this coming spring, and that’s the focus from everyone. Even GM Dubas is leaving his contract negotiations until the end of the year to show a belief in the team and what it will accomplish this season.
On top of that, maybe to get fans more confident about Matthews staying in Toronto, Dubas did mentioned that the planning has been going on for a long time and how they will make it work to sign Matthews to the extension he deserves. The Leafs currently have their cap sheet structured to leave them with plenty of cap space when Matthews’ contract expires so that they can offer him everything.