Ex-NHL GM has bad news for Auston Matthews

Just what kind of deal will he sign?



After registering his 5th career 40-goal season, Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews surpassed team legend Darryl Sittler's previous mark of four. Meanwhile, he also surpassed Lanny McDonald and Rick Vaive's team records of three and two straight 40-goal campaigns, respectively. 

However, after Toronto's season came to a close last week in the form of a Round 2 postseason loss to the Florida Panthers, the reality is beginning to set in that Matthews has only one year remaining on his current contract. Not to be unexpected, Matthews reiterated his desire to stay with the Maple Leafs, which is the typical M.O. for any pending unrestricted free agent (unless you're Artemi Panarin or Sergei Bobrovsky with the Columbus Blue Jackets) to say that your desire is to stay put. 

But what kind of deal can Matthews realistically expect to sign if he truly does intend on staying with the only NHL team that he's ever played for so far in his career?

According to former NHL general manager, coach and president Don MacLean during an appearance on Sportsnet 590's The FAN on Friday, Matthews should not expect to earn the kind of deal that made fellow stars like Connor McDavid and Nathan MacKinnon the highest paid NHL players. 

"I don't have him in Connor McDavid or Nathan MacKinnon's category," MacLean said. "I don't have him in those two players' categories, for me - especially after what I watched this year."

MacLean added that "he's not as good of a player as either one of them".

New Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving has already stated that a new contract for Matthews is his top priority, and he's also reportedly met with Matthews in Arizona this offseason. 

Can the two sides work out a deal that is fair for both, or should Maple Leafs fans have to prepare for the uncomfortable possibility of life without their desert-born star?