Maple leafs GM opens up on short-term deal for Auston Mathews

Tom Banks
August 25, 2023  (8:32 PM)

After weeks of speculation, the Toronto Maple Leafs finally handed Auston Matthews a four-year extension this week, a move that significantly helps both parties.

A short-term deal


However, many were shocked that the team caved in and gave him the short-term deal he was looking for, and now, GM Brad Treliving has opened up on the decision to work on a four-year deal, rather than a longer one.
You're talking about one of the world's best talents. And in the situation he was in, he could come in and demand a whole lot more than what he got. And that's just the reality.... To me, it was a partnership more than it was a negotiation.
The deal will see Matthews hit free agency again while he's in his prime, and will allow the Leafs to re-asses the standing of their franchise, but first and foremost is five more years of No. 34 in the Maple Leaf blue and white.

A smart business move

Many expected the team to push harder for a longer term deal, but ultimately, they settled on four years, taking Matthews to his age 30 season, and Treliving opened up on the overall decision.
I'd go back to that word I used earlier, «balance.» You're absolutely right.

A guy once asked me, on a contract I was working on, «Are you close?» I said, «Yeah, we are getting there. There are only two issues We just got to figure out the term and the money.»

That is all there is in these contracts. Two things: term and money. They're intertwined. To me, we found that balance there.

You have to look at the landscape we are in. You have to look at the player. Where is the cap going? We all think and hope there is growth and significant growth over the next while.

It's about trying to find that balance where it all fits and works for the player and you can continue to have flexibility to build around our best player. It works hand-in-hand. We just felt throughout this process that we landed on a spot where there was balance — balance in the number of years.

This contract is a big contract, but I remember his last one, too. People thought, «What is going to happen after?» We will deal with that when the time comes, but he just signed another contract.

Auston reiterated throughout the process that he is committed to the team. He is committed to the city. We landed on a spot that felt right and worked for everybody.

Now, the trio of Marner, Tavares and Matthews are locked in for the foreseeable future, and after moving one step closer to a Stanley Cup a season ago, it's now their biggest opportunity to win a Cup yet, so we will see if Treliving and the core four can get it done.