Maple Leafs, Auston Matthews reach 4-year, $53M extension

Auston Matthews is not going anyplace.

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ prime middle signed a four-year, $53 million contract extension by way of the 2028 season Wednesday. The brand new pact begins when Matthews’ present five-year deal runs out in July.

At $13.25 million per season, Matthews turns into the NHL’s highest paid participant by way of annual worth, surpassing Nathan MacKinnon, who’s averaging $12.6 million on his eight-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche.

“I really feel lucky to proceed this journey as a Maple Leaf in entrance of the perfect followers in hockey!” Matthews posted to social media simply earlier than the extension went public. “I’ll do all the things I can to assist get us to the highest of the mountain. GLG!”

Matthews, 25, has been an elite play-driving ahead for the Maple Leafs since he was drafted No. 1 general in 2016. He’s a two-time Rocket Richard Trophy winner (in 2020 and 2021) because the NHL’s prime objective scorer, posting 299 targets and 542 factors in 481 regular-season video games — with one other 22 targets and 44 factors by way of 50 postseason tilts

He tallied career-best totals in 2021-22 with 60 targets and 106 factors in 73 video games, an output that earned him a Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award because the NHL’s Most Helpful Participant.

Matthews already has positioned himself properly among the many Leafs’ all-time franchise leaders, tied for fifth in targets scored and second with 9 time beyond regulation targets. He additionally leads the NHL in targets scored since 2016-17 and is eleventh general in factors.

The Scottsdale, Arizona, native was as a result of turn into an unrestricted free agent for the primary time July 1.

Matthews has scored 45 extra targets than some other American-born participant in NHL historical past by way of their first seven seasons, in accordance with ESPN Stats & Info.

Toronto’s newly instated common supervisor Brad Treliving was adamant from the beginning of his tenure in Could that locking down Matthews long-term could be a precedence. The Leafs wanted readability on the place Matthews may fall by way of wage earlier than Treliving may flip his consideration to different personnel issues, together with negotiating an extension for ahead William Nylander, who is also within the remaining season of his contract.

“I need to be in Toronto so long as I can,” Nylander mentioned earlier this week, cautioning that he was in no hurry to hurry a deal over the road.

Toronto can have three gamers in 2024-25 who can have a cap hit of at the very least $10 million, with Matthews becoming a member of John Tavares ($11 million) and Mitch Marner ($10.9 million).

Toronto has reached the playoffs in each full season since Matthews got here on board however has superior previous the primary spherical solely as soon as — once they topped Tampa Bay in a six-game collection final spring. The Leafs adopted that efficiency up by falling in 5 video games to the Florida Panthers within the second spherical.

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