In this post, I’ll look at two reasons why I believe Brad Treliving will be able to sign Auston Matthews to a contract extension. That said, I’m unsure when that would be.
Brad Treliving Hit the Ground Running
When the Toronto Maple Leafs welcomed Treliving as their new general manager (GM), one of the first questions he was asked during his meeting with the Toronto media was what he was going to do about Auston Matthews.
That question is obviously on everyone’s minds – and that includes die-hard Maple Leafs’ fans. There’s only one Maple Leafs’ writer that I know who truly seems to believe that Matthews should be shown the door. The rest of us – insofar as I know – want the young Arizona native to stick around and lead this team to the next step.
Yes, that’s Treliving’s key first step – to sign Matthews to a contract extension. Matthews is the key player for this team.
Reasons Why I Believe Re-Signing Matthews Is Doable
I believe there are several reasons that the likelihood of Treliving successfully negotiating a contract extension for Matthews is high. In this post, I limit these reasons to two: (1) Treliving is an experienced GM and (2) Matthews wants to stay. The second point is obviously THE key.
Reason One: Treliving Is a Skilled Contract Negotiator
Because Treliving first assumed the role of GM for the Calgary Flames in 2014, he’s been doing this same job with the Flames organization for nine years. He’s also been overseeing the Flames’ hockey operations and playing a crucial role in team management.
As a result, Treliving comes to the Maple Leafs with solid experience and a reputation as a respected general manager. This prior experience negotiating large-value contracts gives Maple Leafs’ fans (and rightfully so) the reasons they should be confident in his ability to handle the talks surrounding Matthews’ extension.
Treliving’s previous experience negotiating contracts equips him with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate all the complexities of signing such a deal. The goal is hardly to take advantage of the other person – and that goes either and both ways. The fact both negotiators want the other to be satisfied makes contract negotiation probably easier than outsiders believe.
What makes it much much easier is that Matthews wants to be on the team.
Reason Two: Matthews Wants to Stay in Toronto
Matthews’ public statements have been consistent. He wants to stay in Toronto with this team. He seems to have no desire to leave – or at least has not expressed this. Things might have changed a bit with former GM Kyle Dubas moving to Pittsburgh. But, so far, there’s been no word.
There’s no reason why he’d lie to fans or the media. If he indeed didn’t want to stay, he would be more evasive with his answers. He wouldn’t necessarily admit it, but he wouldn’t want to suffer the fallout if he bailed on what seemed to be a commitment. He’d waffle instead of saying it aloud and again.
Instead, his strong commitment to remaining with the Maple Leafs hasn’t wavered. Insofar as an outsider like myself could pretend to read his mind, he seems to see himself as a key part (perhaps even the leader, which is just fine from my perspective) of the team’s journey to winning a Stanley Cup.
There’s no reason Blue & White Nation should believe differently. Matthews’ message has been unwavering. He seems to want to see this quest through and bring success to the team and his friends who are his teammates. This commitment is the key foundation for any contract negotiations. When both parties want it to happen, it likely will happen.
The Bottom Line
Treliving’s arrival as the new Maple Leafs GM changes things; however, it doesn’t necessarily make things worse. Although he’s new to the job, there’s no reason fans should feel anything but optimism about Matthews’ contract extension.
In short, Treliving’s reputation as a skilled negotiator combined with Matthews’ desire to stay in Toronto suggests a positive outcome will eventually happen. When it does, who knows?
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