The Toronto Maple Leafs’ star center, Auston Matthews, has solidified his future with the team after signing a groundbreaking four-year contract extension worth $53 million. The new deal, which will commence once Matthews’ current five-year contract expires in July, makes him the highest-paid player in the NHL in terms of annual value. Surpassing Nathan MacKinnon’s average of $12.6 million, Matthews will earn an impressive $13.25 million per season.
Matthews took to social media to express his gratitude to the Maple Leafs organization and their loyal fanbase, stating, “I feel fortunate to continue this journey as a Maple Leaf in front of the best fans in hockey! I will do everything I can to help us reach the pinnacle of success. Go Leafs Go!” As a player who has consistently demonstrated exceptional skill and leadership, Matthews is eager to contribute to the team’s pursuit of a championship.
Since being drafted as the first overall pick in 2016, Auston Matthews has established himself as an elite play-driving forward for the Maple Leafs. The 25-year-old has accumulated an impressive list of accolades, including two Rocket Richard Trophies as the NHL’s top goal scorer. With an outstanding career stat line of 299 goals and 542 points in 481 regular-season games, Matthews has consistently been a dominant force on the ice. In the 2021-22 season alone, he achieved career-best numbers with a remarkable 60 goals and 106 points in just 73 games. His outstanding performance earned him both the Hart Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player.
Furthermore, Matthews has already etched his name in the franchise record books, tying for fifth place in all-time goals scored for the Maple Leafs and holding the second-highest number of overtime goals. His impact extends beyond the team level, as he currently sits atop the NHL goal-scoring leaderboard since the 2016-17 season and ranks 11th overall in total points.
The Toronto Maple Leafs made it clear from the start of his tenure that securing Auston Matthews for the long term would be a top priority. As their new general manager, Brad Treliving emphasized the importance of locking down Matthews before addressing other personnel matters within the team. With the signing now complete, the Leafs can shift their focus to negotiating an extension for forward William Nylander, who is also in the final year of his contract.
This contract extension solidifies Toronto’s commitment to their core players, with three individuals set to have a cap hit of over $10 million in the 2024-25 season. Alongside Matthews, John Tavares ($11 million) and Mitch Marner ($10.9 million) will form a formidable trio, providing offensive firepower and leadership on the ice.
A Quest for Postseason Triumph
The Maple Leafs have consistently made it to the playoffs since Matthews joined the team, but have struggled to advance beyond the first round. Despite last season’s triumph over the heavily favored Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto was unable to progress past the second round, falling in a tight series against the Florida Panthers.
With Matthews’ contract extension in place, the pressure is on for the Maple Leafs to translate their regular-season success into postseason triumph. The team’s management, coaching staff, and players are determined to build a championship-caliber squad and finally bring the Stanley Cup home to Toronto.
Auston Matthews’ contract extension represents a monumental moment for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The team has secured its star center for the foreseeable future and positioned themselves to compete at the highest level. Matthews’ exceptional skill, dedication, and leadership will undoubtedly continue to drive the team forward in their pursuit of a championship. The expectations are high, but with Matthews leading the way, there is a renewed sense of optimism and excitement within the Leafs fanbase.