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GM Says Maple Leafs, Matthews Found “Sweet Spot” in New Deal

Auston Matthews and GM Brad Treliving spoke about the new four-year deal signed this week. Both called it the right balance in a new deal.

Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving spoke with the media on Friday, immediately after Auston Matthews spoke about his new four-year deal with the team. Matthews was asked about why he only wanted a four-year deal and said that it just felt like the right way to go, both to make sure he was comfortable and the team could do what it needed to. “I just felt strongly in my situation and my position that it was the best deal for myself and the best deal for the team,” he noted.

He added, “It wasn’t [like] I just woke up and was like, we’re doing a four-year deal. It was a lot of long conversations. A lot of thought. A lot of just going to bed thinking about it, praying about it. And in the end, this is kind of what I felt most comfortable with.”

Treliving said Matthews could have gotten a lot more and that he could have held the Leafs to the fire, but he didn’t. That speaks of the player’s leadership, said the GM who was glad to have this deal now in the bag.

“Five years is a long time and we’re excited for the next five years and excited to get this behind us,” said Treliving. Treliving contended that this deal got done because Matthews wanted it done. He noted that the forward could have come in and demanded a lot more than he ultimately got, but the center wanted this deal finalized and to find the right balance between what the player deserved and what worked within the team construct.

When asked if the Maple Leafs have put themselves in a tight spot long-term, Treliving again used the word balance. Treliving says these contracts are only about two things, term and money. The Leafs had to look at the player, and the landscape of where the salary cap is going and try to find the balance where it all fits, works for the player, and continues to give the team flexibility to build around their best player. “It works hand in hand and we just felt, throughout this process, that we landed on a spot where there is balance.”

Brad Treliving Maple Leafs GM signings
Brad Treliving Maple Leafs GM signings

I remember his last contract and there was talk about what would happen in five years when his contract was done and the player just signed again. Treliving noted that Matthews has consistently said he is committed to the team and the city. They’ll deal with that situation when it comes. “I really enjoyed this process of getting to know Auston…He’s a remarkable young man…He’s an independent thinker, really cerebral,” Treliving noted.

What Else Is On Toronto’s To-Do List?

When asked what else he has left to do this summer, Treliving says he’s looking every day at what he can do to improve the team and supplement the roster. It said it’s quiet right now, but as the team gets close to training camp, they will reevaluate things.

Treliving talked about the future of Sheldon Keefe and noted that he’s enjoyed getting to know the coach and they talk daily about the team-building process. He’s impressed with Keefe and they’ll continue to work and talk about contracts, and see where it all goes.

Brad Treliving says he’ll continue to work towards a new contract for William Nylander: “He’s a star.”

Next: Matthews’ Evasion of Long-Term Deal with Maple Leafs Calculated

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