Leafs Re-sign Matthews to Five-Year Extension

by | Feb 5, 2019 | News, NHL, Rumors | 64 comments

The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed center Auston Matthews to a five-year, $58.17-million contract extension. The annual average value is $11.634 million.

Toronto Maple Leafs sign Auston Matthews to a five-year extension (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And with that, the threat of a rival club swooping in with an offer sheet for Matthews this summer is negated. It’s a significant raise for Matthews, who is completing the final season of his entry-level contract.

Selected first overall in the 2016 NHL Draft, Matthews swiftly developed into a top offensive center, winning the Calder Memorial Trophy in 2017.  Despite missing 14 games to injury this season, he’s tallied 23 goals and 46 points, putting him on pace for 40 goals and 82 points by season’s end. 

Both sides were reportedly interested in an eight-year extension but doing so apparently wasn’t in the Leafs’ long-term interests. This deal also gives Matthews the opportunity to negotiate another major contract by age 26, when he’ll be eligible for unrestricted free agency

 Starting next season, Matthews’ new annual cap hit will be the highest on the Leafs and the league’s second-highest behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid’s $12.5 million. While Matthews didn’t exactly get “McDavid money”, his new cap hit will still take a big bite out of Toronto’s payroll for 2019-20.

The Leafs now have over $71.9 million invested in 14 players, with Mitch Marner, Jake Gardiner, Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, Ron Hainsey, Garret Sparks, and Igor Ozhiganov to be re-signed or replaced. Even by placing Nathan Horton ($5.3 million) on long-term injured reserve at the start of next season, and assuming a projected cap of $83 million for 2019-20, the Leafs won’t have enough to re-sign everyone. They’ll likely have to shed a contract or two before the start of next season.

Marner, of course, is the Leafs’ next priority and could cost around $11 million annually to keep in the fold. He’s indicated he’ll wait until season’s end to open contract discussions. It’s a good bet the Leafs will try to get him locked up before he becomes a restricted free agent -and a potential offer-sheet target – on July 1. 


  1. Good news. Marner will likely do the same thing – mid-term length and big money, likely front-end loaded with bonus money.
    Here’s hoping they stay healthy and keep developing, and that Kyle Dubas figures out how to make all the contracts fit.

    • Imho marner will be 10.5 ×6..with Zats(traded).. brown (traded)..hainsey (not resigned). Johnsson (traded)is..ozzy (not resigned)..and Gardiner(not resigned/traded?).Rosen Borgen and Moore and Braccco replacing them and possibly with a couple of ptos? But they’ll be fine. with one of if not the best capologist(pridham) in the business. And yes Zats is movable! Lol contacts have been removed from teams rosters before!Clarkson.. jason Blake Toskala . Phaneuf😳..lol.dont kid yourself ..mind you trolls love it!😂

      • How much do you pay a team to take that contract?

  2. Lyle, I always thought conventional thinking was to sign a player to the longest possible contract offer. What would he have wanted for 8 yrs? Second, will the Leafs be in a more vulnerable position to negotiate five years from now when he’ll want potentially more than that?

    • Frank, the ink is barely dry and your worrying about that now? Take an Aspirin

    • reports suggest 8 year would have been around 13M AAV

    • For the player signing the maximum 8 years at such a young age means leaving money on the table and not cashing in on his best playing days. Players are in the prime in the mid/late 20s to early 30s and come 5 seasons from now when Matthews is a UFA he will be able to command more based on his past performance, as well as the (safe) risk that the cap will rise so even an increased salary can still fit in a team cap.

      For the team it makes sense because they can pay him a bit less for 5 years, which means Marner will take a bit less then that for probably a similar period and they can best fit these salaries.

    • Because of the Marleau contract, next year’s cap is going to be tight. Horton’s contract will offer some relief but not enough. The following year Muzzin will have to be resigned or traded and my thinking is he will be hitting paydirt with Marleau off the books.
      All in all, next year will be the most trying year and don’t forget, the cap is only going up in the future.

  3. WOW. That’s a lot money for 5 years. As i posted yesterday imo Matthews (and Marner) should not get more than Tavares.
    I was hoping both sign a bridge deal between 3-5 years between $8 and $9 million. Obviously daydreaming… WOW $11.634 million…..
    Marner will get propably about the same… bye bye WW

  4. Has anyone noted if this contract comes with a no trade or no move clause?

    • Arnt those only available for ufa years?

    • not 100% on this but I don’t think a player is able to negotiate a NTC or NMC into his contract until he has 7 years in the league or is a certain age.
      Likely mirrors UFA eligibility.

      • correct, no NTC/NMC in RFA years. I’m assuming it kicks in for the last year

      • Restrictions are for UFA years only. Makes for an interesting 5th year

    • The last year has the no trade. NTC contracts can’t be for RFA years. The last year of the contract, he would have been a ufa, so that’s when it kicks in.

  5. Imo not a teamfriendly contract. Crosby, McDavid, Tavares all left money on the table to win. What would he have comanded for 8 years? Welcome to cap hell Maple Leafs.

    • Mathews left money on the table.

    • The contract is less % of cap as compared to the cap hit% of the Crosby and McDavid. Agree that it’s not exactly team friendly but neither are 2 of the 3 comparables you suggest.

      • I’d suggest very team friendly same as most the contracts the Leafs have paid up front very easy to move if the choose to go another direction. It’s good for both not so much for the League who’s young players are gonna be expecting to be getting paid like that up front and short term big market teams can exploit this

      • If the wheels fall off in the next 5 years this contract is much much easier to move than what the Hawks and Kings are going through trying to rid themselves of small market teams will always be able to take a contract that is substantial less than it’s aav with a cap at 85 -90 mill in the near future and expansion adding much more revenue again,

      • The thing that guys with the point of view that the Kadris Gardiner’s and the usual whipping boys should be cheering this contract the Leafs will be made up of this core more or less and the 5-6 mill guys will will be squeezed by cheaper options like Kapanen Dermott Johanssen Moore Muzzin (1more year) the cap hell as she me think it’s gonna be will be for the next season or 2 not long term

    • I’ll try to add something here. I’m not a huge fan of the deal as I would of like one more year and maybe a $1M less but in retrospect, I think it’s better to over pay a superstar a couple of million than it is to pay a player bottom six or lower pairing players. Second, as much as I’m ok with the deal, his cap hit will take up only 14% of next year’s cap and looking back at other superstars, like Crosby and Malkins hit were 15% and 17% of the cap when they sign their extensions.
      Also it would be hard to argue that Matthews is right up there in the top 3-5 goal scorers 5on5 and a center at that. It’s not a truly ideal deal but I’ll take it and happy to see him in the blue and white for 5 more years cup chasing.

    • Crosby and mcdavid contracts took up a larger percent of the cap than Mathews did. Taking into inflation of the cap the other two were actually higher

      • Crosby & McDavid were MUCH better, when they signed.

  6. What money did he leave on the table exactly? Assuming his comparable was Connor McDavid at 12.5 million he left 850,000.

    That leaves room to resign Martin Marincin.

    • He could have asked for 13 over 8. He’d have gotten it from someone. He left money on the table.

      • Friedman just suggested it would have been in the ballpark of $14M over 8.
        That seems a little steep to me. Matthews is a great player but is he as good as McDavid? Yes the cap is going up but that is a big number.

      • Hmm 60 mill 5-6 year deal? sounds familiar

      • I know sticky. I suggested that months ago.

      • Offersheet what?

  7. The only way this turns out as a long term win would be to get Marner at 9-9.5x 8 yrs.

    I get that the Leafs May want to offer an 8 year monster deal after 5 yes but if he tests the market at that time what will it be?

    I think I’ll take that aspirin after all.

  8. So 33 million cap hit for Marner, Matthews and Tavares. Probably. Well, that GM knows what he’s doing, he’s built so many cup winners before.

    • That’s a lot of money for a kid who hasn’t busted 70 pts in a season yet.
      Don’t get me wrong, I’d like him on my team, but he’s a point per game player thus far.
      Ultimately, I’m happy that the players are getting paid their perceived worth to their respective teams.
      Everyone win$ except for the guy paying to watch.

      • Matthew’s couldn’t hold Connor McDavid’s jock strap. Not even in same league.

    • Championship every where else he’s been remind me again how many current GMs in the League have cups?

      • That’s the part I don’t think people get about Dubas he isn’t just a stat guy won a Memorial cup moves on from that and next stop wins a Calder Cup hung out learned from Yoda Lou for a few seasons, somehow convinced a top UFA to come home to play in this mad house pulss off getting Muzzin
        for n xt to nothing but a pick …yeah he’s likely still green

      • Can only win the games ya get to play in…he’s taken 2 really bad programs he got hired to championship s and turned them around not to say he won’t make mistakes sure there will be but kid might have an idea of what works and what doesn’t so far I’d say judging by his success rate

      • Your comments below don’t have a reply button, so I’ll answer here.
        Dubas hasn’t won a memorial cup and his oil team, the greyhounds never made it that far.

      • Welcome back old Schticky, I see the Leafs have you on the payroll again as the leader of the cheer team.

        Got Muzzin for next to nothing but a pick??? You do realize they gave up a 1st rounder AND two prospects that were former 2nd rounders, right?

        Grundstrom has shown really well for the Marlies and LA choose Durzi over Liljegrin as the latter’s stock is plummeting fast. Even TSN was reporting that other teams scouts were saying LA made the right choice passing up Liljegrin.

        I’d say that’s not too bad of a haul for a guy that is a UFA in less than a year and a half. Good luck resigning him while be mired in cap hell.

  9. Wow

    Again I have meetings and miss the action

    Fair contract… I had thought 5 @$11.5 would be the final spot … $11.6 M fine. $58.150 M. At first glance I thought the extra $150 K was strange …. why not $58M or $58.2M

    Then I looked on Cap friendly and realized everything SB but basically League min sal for 5 yrs ….starting at 700K. I’m guessing that just before signing someone probably pointed out that in 3 years League min will be more than 700 K …. and upped yrs 3-5 to 750 K…. ahhh those nerdy accountants ….. LOL

    Next up MM…. and with the bar set … his contract will not be a penny under $50 M for 5…. so let’s hope exactly $10M cap and not more

    Now …. unless they move one or both of Marleau and WW…. then many players currently on roster are gone…. for sure one of Kappy or Brown is gone

    My buddy who flipped me the news also flipped me a table of the roster and sals …. it already pre-populated MM at $10M… and showed what was left…..grim picture after that if both Marleau and WW still on roster

    His sheet showed Brown still on …. Leafs losing Kappy , Linholm, Johnson , Ozh, Gardner , Hainsy (all free agents that can’t be afforded) allowing for signing a UFA 3rd line winger and UFA 5th D spot …. EACH signed only at $1.1M ….. the balance of the roster ….. 6 players ( back-up goalie, two 4th line wingers , two depth wingers , 7th D)…. ALL AT LEAGUE MIN….leaving only <$200 K in Cap at the end……and that’s wth 2nd pairing as Zaitzev and Dermott ; 3rd pair Holl and above listed UFA acquisition

    IMO that’s not going to get them to SCF in June ‘20

    WW and/or Marleau have to be paid SB and then moved after 1/7…. both gone frees up an extremely valuable $13.2 M

    Moving the Zaitz contract will not happen w/o (a) losing cherished assets and/or (b) having to take bake a toxic (but shorter/ cheaper) contract

    McKenzie on TSN, who I do respect as an analyst…, the other day said he could make it work…. you should check that video out …. he under estimated all extensions ; used a projected Cap ceiling $2M greater than all current forecasts AND was going to have Leafs go the whole year with just 20 players (12F, 6 D, 2 G)…. the amount dressed for every game anyway… no press box, no illnesses , no short term injuries…. he was preaching magic …. impossible

    This will be a tough stretch ahead for GMKD… I’m hoping he can pull it off…. it can’t be done unless Marleau and /or WW are moved OR without losing key players and in effect fielding a team next year, not as good as this year’s team…. which would IMO, preclude a depth run of any length in ‘20

    Good signing. Step one down. Fingers crossed

    • welcome to the new nhl
      At least Matthews & Marner are actually deserving due to skill & heart.

      Couldn’t the leafs trade Marleau to a team that trades him back (hypothetically)?

      • Hi Assbackwards

        Yes … but that wouldn’t save them any cap other than the proportion of $6.25M representing the short time he’d be on that other team

      • For some reason I can see the Leafs making it attractive enoug to give Marleau a Victory lap in SJ in the summer let him retire a Shark maybe hold a bit of the hit the salary is nothing really and a pick or maybe a bgrade prospect for another later pic kinda idea if they needed theSharks could pick him up for nothing more than a song really and really he did do alot for that franchise which is a pretty classy team to it’s players

      • Hi Schticky

        I had that thought as well but they (SJ) won’t have the Cap space either

        His take-home after July 1st is only $585K…. not a great deal of an incentive to keep in shape and grind through pre-season, 82 games and play-offs

        I was hoping there was some sort of handshake agreement with Lou—- structure contract with $17.5 M of $18.75 due in first 24 months … but have as 3 year contract to lower Cap AAV … then we’ll trade you after your SB is paid … you then retire and enjoy the fam….. receiving team actually pays $0 but gets cap hit ….. worth a 3rd rounder????

        That’s what I’m hoping

        Buying him out does not reduce the cap hit as all as it’s a 35+ contract

        He also has NMC —- all in his control

        WW much much easier to move…. pay SB…. then trade to cash poor , cap rich team…. receiving team only has to then pay him $700 K (just a smidge over League min.) for next year and only an average AAV of $4.94 in cash…. that IMO is worth a mid 20’s top 4 D with less Cap…. say a cash poor team with a D whose Sal (and Cap) is in the $4.5M range …. that team taking WW gets what they hope is an increase in offence; saves $3.8 M in cash …. at the expense of increased Cap that they’ll not be using anyway

        Leafs don’t care about cash and save almost $2.5 M in Cap and get a top 4D (not necessarily top 4 by league wide standards but by Leafs standard… that player only needs to be better than Zaitzev to qualify as Top 4 D and that’s not asking for much!!)

      • Nylander will be fine Pengy he isn’t going anywhere 5points last 4 games winning ng draws legs really going he will come round. Hockey gods balance stuff out lol

      • San Jose refused that 3rd year! I doubt they’re giving it back for a reunion and a favor to Toronto …. as a matter of fact, I seriously doubt that!

      • Sure you could be right but it wouldn’t surprise me if they somehow got out of that deal in a pretty unspectacular way holding 2 or 3 of the hit or taking a contract back and Marleau retires somewhere closer to his home in Cali

      • And there was no suggestions of for charity the Leafs send a higher pick for a lower or something back maybe the other team dumps real money depending on how the contract coming back works not unheard of gives a little wiggle room at a low cost

      • Shticky

        Don’t get me wrong re WW; I do think he’ll turn it around …. maybe not as productive as he was by end of this year …. but he should be fine

        I’m not advocating the move due to his performance ; but for the easiest solution to the cap issue and at same time avoiding other player losses

        What Im saying is that with the improbality IMO of fielding a cup winner next year (due to inability to keep many current players) due to cap issues …. easiest solution is with moving his contract July 2nd

        Leafs were producing fine before his return

        I’m not a Craig Button fan … but I do agree with him when he said it is much better for the team to use that cap space (WW’s) ; replace with 2 wingers on the upswing (but individually not projected as productive ) AND still have extra cap space

        His logic was asking rhetorically if Leafs would be better off with (A) Kappy AND Johnson AND extra Cap space or (B) WW , no Cap space no Kappy no Johnson

        Here I agree with him (again a rarity for me regarding Button)

        Put another way …, for $7 M cap hit …. IMO it would be better to spend $3M cap on a Kappy bridge AND spend another $4M on a UFA D upgrade than keeping WW

        I’m just looking at the big picture for the Leafs

        If Marleau didn’t have a NMC or was not a 35+ contract …. the Cao answer is easier

        As at now…. easiest solution and for betterment over-all for the team IMO is to move WW after he gets his bonus

        As for Zaitz …., the incentive will have to be young Leaf forwards …. perhaps it’s Johnsson ????

        Just heard on the radio that they may be looking at a MM bridge deal …. 3 years …. that might bring his hit down to $9.5 M …, the saving of $0.5M is of course something … but in the bigger scheme … I’d rather have 5 @ $10M

        The other bandied around was 6 years ..,, they don’t want both AM and MM deals expiring at same time and the 4 year deal has him UFA at end

        Both bridge (3) and 6 year deals have merit

        They are suggesting 6 would be at $11M or maybe a bit more

        Fingers crossed

        Go Leafs Go

      • Partick Marleau has 2 goals in last 16 games, I don’t think any team would want him.

      • Even if Patrick M retired after the season the team is still stuck with cap hit because he signed over age 35

  10. I am absolutely loves ving watching Randy coach the Ducks right now I must say and love the fact they haven’t sacked him yet. Ahh just like old times

  11. Let’s hope the Leafs stay healthy in coming seasons (Austin }
    not much left for any depth.

    • This is a concern of mine aswell I must say but that could happen to anyone I guess, bit part of my reasoning for the distaste of 8 year deals I have.

      • A.M has been extremely fragile.

        This playoffs:
        I can see him & Nylander using binoculars to try and see the corners of the rink again.

  12. sure is lots of scrutiny on the Mathews deal regarding the taxes he pays…and the various rates at which he pays them

    thoughts everyone?

    • In Toronto Tavares makes an extra 6 million per year just from endorsements. Matthew’s should have no trouble bringing in extra cash like that

      • No- he doesn’t

      • No- he doesn’t get extra 6mill/year…

      • Tavares endorsements in Toronto are at 1.5 million

      • Yep you’re right I was thinking of McDavid who makes around 4 million.

  13. Just like the front loaded contracts of Luongo and Webber, I am thinking that these contracts will have some repercussions after the next CBA. Big signing bonus money each year with a low base salary.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not Leaf bashing, Connor McDavid has the same type of contract.

  14. Marner is going to July 1st and there is going to be a line.
    Half the Teams in the league will be waiting for the Leafs best offensive player to be eligible for an offer sheet.Kid is a beast. Toronto’s window maybe this season and that’s it. They better find some more help on the Blueline.