After what happened between the Toronto Maple Leafs and William Nylander earlier this season, this will be music to the collective ears of Leafs Nation. Contract talks between the team and star centre Auston Matthews are intensifying.
The two sides are set to sit down and work out a contract extension for the dynamic 21-year-old, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday during the Headlines segment of Hockey Night in Canada.
Although Matthews is eligible to sign an eight-year contract extension, it’s looking like he will instead end up with either a five- or six-year deal whenever the two sides can agree on all the details.
A five-year deal would buy one year of his unrestricted free agent years, while a six-year deal would buy two UFA years.
Matthews, who is set to become a restricted free agent on July 1, isn’t expected to have his next salary cap hit exceed the $12.5 million average annual value that Connor McDavid earns, but it could come close to that number.
Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston thinks on a five-year deal Matthews’s cap hit would fall somewhere in the $11-million range, while on a six-year term that number could creep closer to $12 million annually.
Nick Kypreos added that once a deal with Matthews is reached the team would then turn their attention to Mitch Marner, who is also set to become an RFA following the season. Marner’s representation has previously stated they don’t intend on negotiating a new deal during the season.