Most of the top picks in the National Hockey League draft have already signed their entry-level deals, but not the Toronto Maple Leafs first overall pick Auston Matthews.
In a recent article for Sportsnet, reporter Chris Johnston detailed how the history and even philosophy of general manager Lou Lamoriello could provide an interesting first hurdle for the future relationship between the Leafs and their top pick. It's important to note here that at no point does Johnston suggest that Matthews and the Leafs will fail to reach an agreement.
Lamoriello doesn't believe in performance bonuses, and when it comes to players like Matthews, those performance bonuses are usually maxed out on the entry level contract. In fact both the #2 and #3 picks in this draft have both received performance bonuses incentives on their entry-level deal, suggesting that MAtthews who went #1 should also get them.
“I am not one who is a believer in the rookie bonuses that (are) in the National Hockey League CBA – the A, Bs and Cs as they’re called,” said Lamoriello as per Johnston. “Yet, everyone in the league that are drafted certainly in the top areas seem to get them. Nobody (with the Devils) has gotten them and our conversations have been that this would not be something that’s advantageous for us to do and the reason is because every player in our locker-room that we have drafted have bought into that philosophy and nobody worries about individual things and only the team and it’s a commitment that’s made.”
Johnston reports that Matthews could be seeking as much as $2.85 million in potential bonuses, and given Lamoriello's philosophy it could make for an interesting butting of heads when it comes to that first contract.