NHL Insider Criticises Auston Mathews over his recent extension

Tom Banks
August 28, 2023  (5:25 PM)

After weeks of speculation, the Toronto Maple Leafs inked superstar Auston Matthews to a four-year extension that makes him the highest paid AAV player in the NHL, but was it enough?

Major criticism

It was rumoured for some time that Matthews camp was pushing for a short-term deal while Toronto were looking at a longer extension, but ultimately, it appears Matthews got the best of negotiations.
That move has caught the ire of many, with Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos criticizing the deal, especially the Maple Leafs front office as he feels as though they caved to Matthews' demands.
There's people out there that say why is he $600K more than the highest paid in the league that won a Stanley Cup in Nathan MacKinnon? Not as many as there would be at $14M, but there's still gonna be people out there questioning why he jumped significantly to become the highest paid player in the league when he was, last year, no where near the best player.

Why not seven or eight years at $13.25M? Why only four? Connor McDavid signed max, Nathan MacKinnon signed max, Leon Drasaitl signed max.

Why does this guy become the highest paid guy in the league if he's only doing it for 4 years?... The AAV may be irrelevant (McDavid), but the term is not. MacKinnon signed for 8 last year after winning the Stanley Cup.

They (Avalanche) didn't let him on the hook with four.

Five more years in Toronto

Regardless of the criticism, Matthews is still locked in with the Maple Leafs for the next five seasons, allowing both he and the Leafs plenty of flexibility to re-asses the franchise in five years, making this a beneficial deal for both sides.
Given the Toronto market, it's not surprising to see people criticizing this deal, and only time will tell whether or not Toronto should have locked him up for longer, but now, all eyes shift to the 2023-24 season as Matthews, the core-four and the Maple Leafs finally look to end their Stanley Cup drought.