Auston Matthews spoke with the media on Monday and was asked a number of questions regarding both his future and the potential future of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ roster. Saying he still believes in the core group of players and that the team is good enough to win, when asked about his own future, he noted that his priority is to stay with the Maple Leafs and get an extension done before the start of next season.
Matthews is going to be starting the final season of his current deal and there is a ton of speculation and concern over his desire to stay in Toronto or test the market as a possible UFA. He noted, “My intention is to be here. I think I’ve reciprocated that before, how much I enjoy playing here and what it means to me… the organization, my teammates, and how much I just enjoy being here.” When asked when he’d like to get that contract extension done, he said it was important but that it would come in due time.
The reason Matthews was asked that question is that he’s got a no-move clause that kicks in on July 1 and creates a potential hurdle in the final year of his deal. If he’s not going to stay or negotiations don’t go well, the Leafs might feel like have little choice but to explore a trade if the two sides are miles apart on an extension. Toronto wants the most flexibility possible and they lose the power of shopping him around if he’s got control over where he ultimately goes.
Outside of Matthews, there is plenty of chatter surrounding the organization. Who will be the next GM? What players is the team going to keep and which will they let go? Will they trade one of their big stars? Matthews’ future is by far the highest priority, but what happens with other areas of the team might affect his desire to stick around.
Next: What 3 Steps Should the Maple Leafs Take Next to Fix The Team?
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