We Finally Know Why Auston Matthews Signed A Short Term Deal

Tyler Ball
August 24, 2023  (6:04 PM)

Auston Matthews Bets On Himself

As part of the interview with Dreger Korolnek asked him why the Toronto Maple Leafs seem to sign more short term deals than other NHL teams with their stars. Dreger said that in this case it had to do more with Matthews being firm in what he wanted
Matthews has committed to five seasons with the Leafs after agreeing to a four-year extension. Why does Toronto have unique circumstances regarding contracts, contrasting with other NHL teams?

A lot of this is rooted in Matthews. Stars like McDavid and Draisaitl must have questioned their own deals after Matthews signed his groundbreaking five-year extension. Normally, teams aim to secure young superstars for the long term. Matthews defied this norm, showing he wasn't keen on a lengthier commitment. Now, he's solidified his position with the Leafs for five years, which is ample time to evaluate the team's potential on and off the ice, especially with new management like Brad Treliving. Treliving would've ideally wanted a longer deal, but this current agreement suits both parties.

While he admits that Brad Treliving would have preferred a longer deal he also says that both sides are satisfied in how things went.

Will Other Players Follow The Matthews Mold?

Korolnek then decided to ask about the NHL on a broader level. He wondered why more NHL stars do not take a Matthews-type deal with a shorter term and a high cap hit.
While players like Pastrnak, Barkov, and Tkachuk have inked seven or eight-year contracts, why hasn't Matthews' deal set a new standard across the NHL?

Every player's situation is unique. Opting for shorter terms requires confidence and faith in one's abilities. Matthews, while a proven NHL star, demonstrated courage in not settling for a max-term deal. Instead, he's wagering on himself and the Leafs' potential over the next five years.

Dreger alludes to the idea that not all that many NHL stars can walk away from a guaranteed long-term deal. The way Matthews is going about his career and contract decisions takes courage and self-belief that some others around the league might not have as much of.

Nylander Up Next

Finally, the group talked with Dreger about William Nylander and the continued discussions he is having with the Leafs. Dreger mentions that the two sides are farther apart and that it might be limiting what the Leafs do as far as other moves.
The focus now shifts to William Nylander. The Leafs might be waiting to see how Nylander's situation unfolds before making moves. His future with the Leafs becomes uncertain as trade deadlines approach if there's no agreement.

Nylander might feel disadvantaged seeing his peers, like Marner and Matthews, leave negotiations contentedly. However, the Leafs' financial constraints limit their ability to meet Nylander's desired salary. If Nylander desires to remain with the team and pursue a Stanley Cup, he might have to consider a shorter-term deal and later capitalize when the salary cap increases.

Dreger mentions that William Nylander may be wise to take a page out of Auston Matthews' playbook and bet on himself. If he wants to win a Stanley Cup in Toronto this may be the best option for the two sides according to Dreger. However, at the moment Nylander has a price that he believes he is worth and is not moving off of it.
Now that the Matthews deal is done it will be interesting to watch the Nylander situation play out. It will also be interesting to see if we get any more details on how far apart the sides are now that there will be more focus on this contract negotiation as well.
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We Finally Know Why Auston Matthews Signed A Short Term Deal

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