Getting Paid: Auston Matthews Signs Extension With Maple Leafs, Becomes Highest Paid Player in NHL

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There’s a new highest-paid man in the National Hockey League and his name is Auston Matthews.

Although, let’s be completely honest: we all knew this was coming.

Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs completed a 4-year, $53 million extension that carries an AAV of $13.25 million, per Yahoo Sports. That makes him the highest-paid player based on AAV topping the Colorado Avalanche’s Nathan McKinnon who previously held that title with his AAV of $12.6 million.

Inking an extension with Matthews was item No. 1 on Leafs GM Brad Trelving’s to-do list. He got it done before the season got underway to boot.

Matthews would have become a free agent at the end of this season. The rumor mill had they not gotten a deal done would have been brutal. Not the kind of distraction a team like the Maple Leafs need, and now fortunately they won’t have to deal with it.

Matthews himself took to X (or as we used to call it back in the day, Twitter) to celebrate and voice his commitment to the team.

Everything seems good, but there’s something very interesting about Matthew’s new extension.

Auston matthews
Auston Matthews’ insistence on a shorter deal could mean the Leafs really need to buckle down and prove they have what it takes to finally win the Stanley Cup. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

The Term Of Matthews Deal Is Very Interesting

The one thing that surprised me about this deal a little was the term. I would have expected a long-term deal of around 8 years. That is reportedly what the Maple Leafs wanted, and had Matthews wanted it, he would have been given it.

Matthews has spent his entire career in Toronto to this point. In 481 games, he has 299 goals and 243 assists for 542 points.

Matthews is unquestionably the Leafs’ best player (barring occasional postseason disappearances, but hey, the entire organization is prone to that) so you’d think they’d want to lock him in. He’d be worth that kind of money for that long.

However, Matthews wanted a shorter deal. There are some major benefits to that for him. First of all, it gives him a quick out and a crack at free agency following the 2027-28 season if he wants it. He may want that if Treliving can’t get the team over the hump.

Secondly, it gives him the chance to negotiate an even more lucrative deal whether that’s in Toronto or elsewhere.

Whether this is how Matthews feels or not, it sure sends out the vibes that he’s giving the Leafs one last chance to put up or shut up in their bid to break their Stanley Cup drought.

Which has been going strong since 1967, but who is keeping track?

Follow on X: @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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