Auston Matthews gets paid

Leafs re-sign Auston Matthews to five-year contract

Leafs re-sign Auston Matthews to five-year contract

This was always going to be a hot topic once Auston Matthews signed his second contract, as he did on Tuesday morning, but it blew up like a fireworks factory because of comments made immediately afterwards by Marner's agent, Darren Ferris, to the Toronto Star.

The last couple of off-seasons have seen a number of CFL teams ask their highly-paid players to restructure their contracts to include a larger signing bonus but a lower overall value, an arrangement that provides the team with cap savings and the player with similar compensation when the tax implications are factored in.

Last year, Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said he "can and will" sign Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner - all exceptionally talented, impending restricted free agents at the time - to new contracts.

The Maple Leafs selected the six-foot, 175-pound right-winger with their first pick, No. 4 overall, in the 2015 National Hockey League draft.

The Leafs hadn't reached the playoffs in back-to-back campaigns since 2003 and 2004 and haven't won a playoff series since 2004, losing in the first round to Boston past year and Washington in 2017.

Through the first two-and-a-half seasons of his career, Matthews has 178 points, with 97 of those points coming on goals.

Matthews has 46 points (23 goals and 23 assists) in 38 games this season.

According to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, Matthews will get 93 percent of his money in the form of signing bonuses. Matt Duchene had the other Ottawa goal. They're trying to make a Stanley Cup push this season, but the extensions of Nylander and Matthews to join Tavares long-term have their window wide open for a long time.

Ottawa won the first meeting, game two of the regular season, but these days there's quite a disparity in the standings.

The Scottsdale, Arizona native has represented Toronto at the NHL All-Star Game in three consecutive seasons (2016, 2017, 2018).

And as coach Mike Babcock noted, it could be the last one 86-year-old Bob Cole calls at Toronto's home rink. I'm not too anxious about it.

"We were playing well and then we just got careless and we never really seemed to be able to get it back", Babcock said. It was his fourth goal in the past five games following a seven-game drought.

A contract would likely be done today if Toronto was willing to hand him the same $58.17-million, five-year deal Matthews signed.

Speaking to the media hours after announcing Matthews' new deal, Dubas explained how keeping the team's core of young stars together is a priority for him and his staff.

Morgan Rielly broke a tie midway through the third period and the Maple Leafs beat the Senators 5-4 on Wednesday night.

Andreas Johnsson, Hyman and Tavares also scored for Toronto.

It would only be speculation, but perhaps Marner's representation wants the key negotiation to be a little more knock-down, drag-out than the player that earned the contract actually wants.

So now the Leafs can look to locking up Marner, their 21-year-old scoring leader (20 goals, 43 assists).

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