NHL Rumor Mill – October 5, 2022
HOW COULD A RISING SALARY CAP AFFECT MATTHEWS’ NEXT CONTRACT?
SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen looked at how the projected rise of the salary cap to $88 million by 2024-25 could affect the Toronto Maple Leafs’ efforts to re-sign Auston Matthews. The 25-year-old center is signed through 2023-24 and carries an average annual value of $11.64 million.
Boylen examined several scenarios regarding Matthews signing for a certain percentage of the Leafs’ cap payroll up to the maximum of 20 percent as managed by the collective bargaining agreement.
If Matthews signs an extension for five or eight years next season at 20 percent of $83.5 million, Boylen projects the Leafs star will earn an AAV of $16.7 million. If he waits until he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2024, (when the cap could be $88 million) he could get an AAV of $17.6 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This isn’t a trade or a free agent rumor but it’s definitely something to keep in mind as Matthews approaches the end of his current contract, especially if he decides to wait until July 1, 2024, to sign his new deal.
Matthews is going to be very expensive to sign. I doubt he’ll accept a “hometown discount” to stay with the Leafs. He’s already a two-time Richard Trophy winner as the NHL’s leading goal scorer, winner of the 2022 Hart Memorial Trophy and the first player in a decade to tally 60 goals in a season. He’s in his playing prime and will remain among the league’s elite superstars when he signs his next contract.
That means Matthews is going to get top dollar, either from the Leafs or another club if he tests the market.
LATEST ON PULJUJARVI AND GOSTISBEHERE
THE ATHLETIC: Daniel Nugent-Bowman believes the emergence of young winger Dylan Holloway could spell the end of Jesse Puljujarvi’s tenure with the Edmonton Oilers, “whether that’s next week or next year.”
Puljujarvi’s been on the trade block for some time and likely would’ve been moved by now if the market hadn’t gone soft. Oilers general manager Ken Holland has been resistant thus far to trading him for futures.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers’ limited salary-cap space could force Holland to accept futures for Puljujarvi if injuries strike the lineup later in the season and he needs cap room to call up players from the minors. The 24-year-old winger carries a $3 million cap hit for this season.
GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan believes Shayne Gostisbehere could be traded this season by the rebuilding Arizona Coyotes if he plays as well this season as he did in 2021-22. The 29-year-old defenseman played his way onto the Coyotes’ top defense pairing, finishing with 51 points in 82 games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gostisbehere would be more affordable than teammate Jakob Chychrun, who’s been a fixture in the rumor mill since the middle of last season. He could be a solid addition for a playoff contender seeking additional production from the blueline.
Gostisbehere’s contract will also make him attractive. Slated to become a UFA next summer, he carries a $4.5 million cap hit. However, he’s earning $3.25 million in actual salary, of which $2.25 million has already been paid by the Coyotes as a signing bonus.