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Maple Leafs |  Auston Matthews goes to the bank

Maple Leafs | Auston Matthews goes to the bank

The Toronto Maple Leafs have settled a big and expensive file: franchise player Auston Matthews’ contract extension. The latter signed a new contract on Wednesday for a period of 4 years and … 53 million.

Thus, the value of the deal is an average of $ 13.25 million annually, which will make Matthews the highest-paid player in the league starting from the 2024-25 season, ahead of Nathan McKinnon with $ 12.6 million, and Connor McDavid with $ 12.5 million.

Matthews said on X that he feels “fortunate to continue this journey as a member of the Maple Leafs and in front of the best fans in hockey.” He also vowed to “do everything he can to get the team to the top of the mountain”.

Matthews only has one season left on his current contract — a five-year, $58.2 million deal signed in February 2019 — which could have taken him to full freelance next summer.

The 2016 #1 pick won Hart the NHL’s Most Valuable Player Award in the 2021-2022 season with 60 league goals, also leading him to Maurice (Rocket) Richard’s second consecutive title.

The 25-year-old from Scottsdale, Arizona, had a slight dip in the 2022-23 season, but still found the net 40 times, as well as scoring 85 points in 74 games.

Matthews added five goals and six assists in 11 playoff games, helping Toronto beat Tampa Bay in six first-round matches and advance to the second round for the first time since 2004.

Matthews scored 299 goals and had 243 assists in 481 games. He added 44 points (22-22) in 50 playoff games.

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thorny issue

The future of the Leafs MVP has been dominating social media and the Toronto sports forums since the end of the season. Matthews’ no-move clause went into effect on the 1stany July, giving him significant control over his future in contract negotiations.

Another problem was uncertainty within Leafs management — and behind the bench.

The team fired general manager Kyle Dubas — the man responsible for signing Matthews and the team’s other stars, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander — after a few days of bizarre intrigue. He was replaced by former Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treleving.

Manager Sheldon Keefe, meanwhile, struggled for a long time with one year left on his contract, before Treleving confirmed in June that the 42-year-old would return, albeit without a contract extension.

The Dubas era has often been criticized as nearly 50% of salaries were spent on four forwards, resulting in little success in the playoffs. Tavares ($11 million a year) and Marner ($10.9 million a year) have two more years on their contracts. Nylander is entering the final year of his current contract, which stipulates an annual salary of approximately $7 million.