Toronto Maple Leafs: An In-Depth Look At Matthews’ Deal

Earlier today, Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews signed a five-year extension. 

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that Matthews signed a five-year deal. His contract carries an AAV of 11.63 million USD and includes a No Movement Clause. The No Movement Clause will only become active in the final year (2023-2024) of his deal.

In addition, McKenzie also broke down Matthews’ contract year by year in the below tweet. 

As you can see from McKenzie’s tweet, Matthews is earning the bulk of his money from his signing bonus. In fact, 94% of Matthews’ earnings will come from his signing bonus. For those who aren’t familiar with NHL contracts, this isn’t odd. Most NHL players earn the bulk of their money from their signing bonus. 

In addition to Matthews’ pay-out, it’s worth mentioning that his deal’s Percentage of Ceiling at Signing (C.H.%) is the second highest in the NHL. Matthews’ CH% is 14.63%. That’s slightly more than Buffalo Sabres centre Jack Eichel‘s C.H.% and slightly less than Edmonton Oilers centre Connor McDavid‘s C.H.%. 

Five Years?

All-in-all, the amount of money and the C.H.% might be a little higher than expectations, but the interesting thing is that Matthews only signed a five-year contract.

It was reported that Matthews’ agent was adamant that if his client would sign an eight year deal that his contract would be north of 13 million USD. Unfortunately, due to the salary cap situation in Toronto and the contracts that the Maple Leafs need to sign down the road, it would be a challenge to give Matthews a 13 million USD deal.

Instead, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas decided to give Matthews a five-year deal as the elite centreman was open to taking less money if he signed a shorter deal. At the end of the day, Dubas didn’t have much of a choice. The salary situation would be tough if he gave Matthews more money. On July 1st, Kasperi Kapanen, Mitch Marner, Andreas Johnsson, Par Lindholm, Jake Gardiner, Ron Hainsey, Igor Ozhiganov and Garret Sparks will hit the market. So, Dubas needed to be mindful of how much he spent on Matthews because he’ll need to keep some of the assets listed above or replace them. 

In addition, if Dubas ignored the fact that he’d have to spend a significant amount of money this off-season and gave Matthews what he wanted, it would severely impact the club long-term. The Maple Leafs front office needs to keep Marner and needs to surround their cornerstone talent (Frederik Andersen, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Morgan Rielly) with solid weapons. So, if Matthews was able to walk all over Dubas and be the highest paid player in the NHL, he would be hurting the Maple Leafs’ chances to succeed long-term. 

salary research from

featured image photo credit – Josh Tessler




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