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Matthews Deal Already Playing Factor in Dahlin Talks with Sabres

The fact that Auston Matthews signed a four-year deal with Toronto seems to be affecting Rasmus Dahlin’s negotiations with Buffalo.

It was fairly clear from the moment he signed his new deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, that Auston Matthews was going to be setting a new precedent around the NHL that top stars would follow. Instead of going the typical route of maximizing the AAV on a long-term extension with his current team, Matthews elected to go four years, hoping to hit a home run on another extension when the salary cap was much higher. Insiders figured the dominos would fall this coming summer as stars were finishing off their current deals. It didn’t take that long as “The Matthews Effect” is already taking hold in the NHL.

The Matthews deal sparked speculation about a potential shift in player contract strategies and questions about who would be next popped up almost immediately. It appears Rasmus Dahlin is next, as reports have surfaced that negotiations between Dahlin and the Sabres have hit a snag, which is surprising considering an eight-year deal was said to be all but done.

Auston Matthews Rasmus Dahlin contract
Auston Matthews Rasmus Dahlin contract

Recent reports suggest that Rasmus Dahlin, a star defenseman for the Sabres, is potentially following in Matthews’s footsteps. Initially, it was reported that the Sabres had offered Dahlin an eight-year contract extension worth $10.5 million per year, as disclosed by Andrew Peters from the After the Whistle Podcast. Now, Peters is reporting that “Apparently Rasmus Dahlin wants a 5yr deal and Sabres holding strong at 8. He’s not happy it’s not done. So I’ve been told.”

This disagreement has left Dahlin frustrated and that’s not good news for Buffalo as they’ve successfully inked all of their other young stars to long-term deals, hoping to avoid exactly what Dahlin is looking for — the flexibility to sign another massive deal when the cap his high. It takes away the Sabres ability to get real value at the tail end of these contracts.

The downside for the Sabres is also a downside that exists in Toronto. With Matthews signing on a short-term deal, others on the Maple Leafs (Mitch Marner or William Nylander) might look to do the same. Matthews starts a domino effect on his own team. If Dahlin goes short-term in Buffalo, what does Owen Power want to do? He too will be due a massive raise and the Sabres would like to gamble on him with a long-term deal. He’s less likely to sign it if Dahlin only goes four years.

And So It Begins…

Ultimately, the decision to pursue shorter contracts, as Matthews did, will depend on a player’s confidence in their earning potential and their ability to secure a favorable financial outcome. Dahlin has every reason to feel confident that he’ll earn a huge deal in four years, based on the season he just had.

Dahlin also knows he’s not the first to take this leap. Matthews’s landmark second contract set a significant benchmark, demonstrating that such strategies are indeed feasible in today’s NHL landscape.

Next: Jets Pausing Contract and Trade Talks for Scheifele, Hellebuyck

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