According to Elliotte Friedman, on his podcast “32 Thoughts,” recent talks between Auston Matthews and new Toronto Maple Leafs’ general manager Brad Treliving are looking good. The signs are encouraging that the star forward and the face of the team will continue his difficult journey to postseason success in Toronto well past next season.
Friedman has consistently reported that he’s convinced Matthews will ultimately sign with Toronto. He reinforced just that notion once again. Specific details and timing remain uncertain, but Friedman reports that the Maple Leafs are seeking a max-term deal with Matthews and that the Maple Leafs are confident an extension will be signed.
For a minute, I want to consider what re-signing with the Maple Leafs might mean for Matthews. Speculation is that he would not be willing to re-sign for the full eight-year maximum term. But what if he surprised everyone and did so?
Why Would Matthews Want to Sign Such a Contract?
For the rest of this post, I want to outline reasons why Matthews would want to re-sign in Toronto and the reasons why he might do so for a longer-term contract.
Reason One: Matthews Wants to Meet Team Expectations
As a highly skilled and valued player, Matthews has felt the pressure to meet the expectations of the organization and the team’s fans. Sure he wants to be paid well; however, he also wants to continue performing at a high level. He also wants to contribute and push his team over the hump into postseason success. Re-signing with the Maple Leafs would allow him to strive for greatness with an organization he cares about.
Reason Two: Matthews Wants to Earn His Salary By Bringing His Team Success
While Matthews wants the financial security and the status a lucrative salary would bring, he also wants to give back to the team and earn his worth. A mega-star earns his value not just by personal accolades but by his ability to carry his team. It would be embarrassing for someone who cares about his team to only be satisfied with personal goals. By re-signing, Matthews could contribute to his team’s success, ensuring he feels deserving of his salary.
Reason Three: Matthews Believes This Team Can Win
Players of Matthews’ caliber have personal aspirations, but they also have corporate (team) aspirations. For NHL players, this includes winning Stanley Cup championships. If he truly believes in this team, as he says, he wants to help both himself and the team leave a lasting legacy. Re-signing with the Maple Leafs gives Matthews the chance to build a legacy as one of the greatest players in history because he helped carry this team to a Stanley Cup win that had eluded it for almost three-quarters of a century.
Reason Four: Matthews Means It When He Says He “Loves” His Teammates
After every postseason loss, Matthews talks about the team as a community. He has spoken highly of his teammates and formed close friendships within the organization. He talks about the “love in the room.”
The players he plays with – winning or losing with them – are important. The bonds he’s developed should influence his decision. He might want to earn a huge salary, win personal accolades, and also win a Stanley Cup championship. But he might want to achieve this success alongside his friends and teammates.
What Would Happen If Matthews Re-Signed an Eight-Year Max Contract?
What if Matthews were to re-sign with the Maple Leafs for the longest term possible – a maximum-term contract? How might that act have a transformative impact on the team and its fans?
First, his loyalty and commitment to the organization would strengthen relationships, foster unity, and create a sense of belonging within the team.
Second, his signing would have a positive impact on the culture of the franchise. It could attract other talented players and enhance the team’s competitiveness.
Third, Matthews’ decision to prioritize his loyalty to the franchise over his short-term financial gains would leave a lasting legacy, solidifying his place in the hearts of fans and potentially leading the team to championship success.
Ultimately, the loyalty he showed by signing a maximum-term contract could contribute to the team’s culture, relationships, and pursuit of the Stanley Cup.
We would sure learn a lot about this young Maple Leafs if he surprise everyone by signing such a deal.
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