TSN predicts monster extension for Auston Matthews

This would make him the NHL's highest paid player.



The Toronto Maple Leafs are entering a period of transition with the dismissal of general manger Kyle Dubas, and there has been understandable speculation that this could affect the futures of players like Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, both of whom are very close with Dubas, with the franchise. 

At this time next year, Matthews will be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent, and would be among the highest-prized players available in recent memory should he ultimately decide to test the market. 

Right now, Matthews (AAV of $11,640,250) finds himself in the top five salaries of NHL players that are led by Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon (AAV of $12.6 million), Edmonton's Connor McDavid (AAV of $12.5 million), New York's Artemi Panarin (AAV of $11,642,857), and San Jose's Erik Karlsson (AAV of $11.5 million). 

According to TSN's Bryan Hayes, Matthews' next contract will leapfrog him to the top of that list. 

"When it comes to [Auston] Matthews... he's gonna be the highest paid player in the league. That's gonna happen... The Leafs are aware of that. The Leafs know that. He's going to get the highest cap hit in the league. The highest cap hit right now is $12.6M. Nathan MacKinnon's got it. Matthews is up, it's gonna be $12.7M per year, plus. Like, that's what's coming. Whether it's a 3-year deal, 5-year deal, 7, 8-year deal.. there will be negotiating, there will be haggling there, but Matthews knows exactly what's going to be there. He's going to get a full no-move, full no-trade, a crazy amount of signing bonus money and he's going to be the highest paid player in the league. It's already going to happen and everyone knows it and the Leafs wants that to happen."

"Matthews, I'm sure, will be seeking that out, so it's about trying to draw a line in the sand for pushing it that much further and pushing back and being adamant that it's in the best interest of everyone, including Auston if he wants to be here, for it to be a 7 or 8-year deal if possible and for it to be closer to $12.7M per year than to $14M or $14.5M, $15M or whatever. That's where the Leafs have got to put their stake in the ground."

One of the NHL's best goal scoring forwards, Matthews already has four seasons of 40+ goals under his belt, surpassing leafs 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. 

Despite the fact that he was a near no-show in Toronto's Round 2 loss against the Florida Panthers, there's little doubt that he'd have no shortage of suitors next summer if he were decide to take his talents elsewhere.