Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs Reportedly in Contract Extension Talks

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 27, 2018

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews skates with the puck against the New Jersey Devils during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, April 5, 2018, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews is reportedly engaging in contract extension talks with the only NHL team he has played for.

Luke Fox of Sportsnet reported the news Thursday, noting Matthews said as much.

The star is set to be a restricted free agent following the 2018-19 campaign, and his re-signing is clearly a priority since he has quickly established himself as a critical piece in Toronto's attack after he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft.

Sportsnet noted "Matthews will be looking at a considerable raise over his current entry-level deal, which carries a cap hit of $925,000."

He has outplayed his contract considering he featured in all 82 games as a rookie and tallied 69 points with 40 goals and 29 assists while leading the team to the postseason. While he played just 62 contests this past campaign, he still helped Toronto reach the playoffs with 63 points on 34 goals and 29 assists.

The Maple Leafs lost in the first round both of those seasons, but the future is bright after they added superstar center John Tavares this offseason.

It is not difficult to envision Toronto challenging for the Stanley Cup in the near future after bringing in Tavares following its 49-26-7 campaign. The Leafs will have to lock Matthews up long term first, though, if he and Tavares are going to be a dynamic duo moving forward.

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