The Toronto Maple Leafs are just a few months removed from signing John Tavares to a seven-year contract, making him the second richest player in the NHL from an AAV standpoint. The only player in front of him? Connor McDavid.
Now it appears that Auston Matthews will warrant the same amount of money as McDavid when his entry-level-contract expires next season.
Dreger: "I had an NHL manager tell me earlier today - Western Conference, granted - but he goes, 'I will buy you the best steak dinner there is if Auston Matthews signs for a dollar less than what Connor McDavid is making.'" #Leafs #TMLtalk #Oilers 1050— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) September 6, 2018
Talk about hitting a payday. Even if this is a Western Conference manager, there's gotta be some truth to what he's saying.
Matthews is undoubtedly a bonafide superstar of the NHL, there's no refuting that. His 69-point rookie campaign established himself as the next face of the Maple Leafs. This past season he logged 63 points in 62 games played. His .917 points per game average over the past two seasons is 26th in the NHL.
However, to say he deserves Connor McDavid money is absolutely ludicrous. McDavid's 208 points over the past two seasons ranks first in the NHL and is 76 points better than Matthews. Granted, Matthews has been in the league one year less than McDavid, but the numbers don't lie. McDavid's current contract pays him $12.5 million annually for the next eight seasons.
In any event, I think the world of Matthews but he’s probably not getting McDavid money. Even if you don’t factor in people guilting 97 for cashing in, or pressure put on the Leafs core to take less to afford each other, 97’s been more productive than 34 at the same career stage.— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) September 6, 2018
We've seen NHL managers spread crazy rumors before and usually they remain just that, a rumor.
Nonetheless, Matthews next contract will be pivotal towards the future of the Maple Leafs franchise. If he commands McDavid money, the Leafs will find themselves in a serious salary cap hole.