It was only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs locked up one of their young stars. And there’s no surprise who they picked first. Auston Matthews has signed a 5-year extension with the Leafs. The deal, worth $58.17M overall will pay him $11.634M through 2024. More than 90% of the contract will be paid in signing bonuses.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 5, 2019
Auston Matthews Signing Long Term In Toronto
When the Leafs drafted Matthews with the first overall pick in the 2016 Draft, it was a no-brainer. Matthews had been expected to be the number one pick over a year before the draft took place. And he proved that when he broke into the league the following season, scoring four goals in his NHL debut.
Matthews continued to show the player he could become as he helped lead the Leafs to the playoffs for the first time since 2004. His 40 goals that season earned him the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s top rookie. Matthews added four goals in the playoffs before the team was eliminated in the first round by the Washington Capitals.
While his success continued into his second season in the league, injuries slowed him down as well. He suffered a concussion and had a shoulder injury. He was limited to 62 games that season. Matthews still posted 34 goals that season, only six less than his rookie year. And he still managed to average over a point per game.
Matthews kicked off this season with 12 points in the team’s first five games. He became the youngest player to record five multi-point games to open the season. Matthews also became the fifth player in the modern era to have 10 goals in the team’s first six games.
There are been some struggles as well for Matthews throughout the season. A shoulder injury cost him 14 games. There have been some scoring droughts as well. While Matthews isn’t leading the team in scoring, he is still one of the team’s best players.
In 38 games this season, Matthews has 23 goals and 23 assists. The numbers are still very impressive overall during Matthews career. Since being drafted in 2016, Matthews has 97 goals and 81 assists in 182 career games. He has also added five goals and two assists in 13 playoff games.
What This Means For The Future
For Matthews, this secures his plays on the Leafs for the foreseeable future. Though not a surprise, it could quiet down some rumblings and provide a clearer picture for the Leafs. It is not the only move the team will need to make, though. Mitch Marner will also be looking for a new contract.
Aside from Matthews and Marner, the team has a few pending restricted and unrestricted free agents they will have to deal with. Among the RFA’s are Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, Igor Ozhiganov and Garret Sparks. As for the UFA’s, the team has Jake Gardiner, Ron Hainsey, Par Lindholm, and Tyler Ennis.
It is unlikely that the team will be able to retain all of their free agents. But the Leafs will not have to worry about another contract for Auston Matthews for a long time.
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