Leafs' decision window on Auston Matthews closing rapidly.

Leafs' decision window on Auston Matthews closing rapidly.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a gigantic decision to make, and they are rapidly running out of time.

Jonathan Larivee

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a ton of massive decisions to make heading into this offseason, but when it comes to their roster there is no question that the most pressing issue surrounds the future of star forward Auston Matthews.

While it's true that Matthews has one more year remaining on his contract, as far as negotiating an extension is concerned the Leafs realistically only have a matter of weeks to get a deal done. That's because the nature of Matthews' contract would give him nearly unlimited leverage starting on July 1st of this year, when his full no-movement clause kicks into effect.

That clause would allow Matthews to block any trade, or any move of any kind for that matter, in the final year of his deal which could allow him to simply walk to free agency where he would no doubt receive a series of monumental offers. This means that the Leafs need to make a decision on extending Matthews, or trading him, and get that deal done before July 1st of this year.

NHL insider Chris Johnston recently revealed his belief that there is only one option here for the Leafs.:

There is absolutely no decision to be made on Matthews.

He needs to be locked up to the longest extension possible at the earliest available opportunity.

Complicating matters will be the fact that Matthews will only be eligible to sign a extension on the very same day his no-movement clause kicks in, July 1st. The Maple Leafs will need to have everything worked out and in order by that date, and who knows if they will be able to accomplish that with so many questions surrounding who will be leading the team into next season.