The Leafs are in a familiar contract dispute.
With Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews in need of contracts this offseason, reports have begun to run rampant over their possible extensions. Matthews will undoubtedly demand massive numbers for his first extension, but the question lies with Marner and what sort of contract he deserves.
TSN 1050 chat with Darren Dreger (Toronto-based): “The Mitch Marner camp seems confident they’re worth every cent that Matthews is worth”— Neal McHale (@nealmchale) January 31, 2019
I may have butchered precise quote. Apologies to Darren, who seemed to know the quote would be radio-ed
The argument can certainly be made that both players deserve identical contracts, but can Kyle Dubas and his Toronto Maple Leafs pull off such a feat?
Marner is having the most productive season of his young career, posting 62 points in just 49 games. He's destined to smash his previous best of 22 goals and 69 points in all 82 games last season.
Matthews has endured through yet another injury-riddled season but has proven himself to be an elite goal-scorer at just 21-years-old. There are multiple reports that Matthews' camp wants somewhere in the range of $10-12 million a year.
Darren Dreger on Matthews/Marner contract talks, possible trade targets and more https://t.co/wIwFK2SFZV— TSN 1050 Toronto (@TSN1050Radio) January 25, 2019
With the acquisition of Jake Muzzin, the Leafs have all but told Jake Gardiner to pack his bags and leave in free agency. The'll free up just over $4 million in cap space to spend on their two stars. Additionally, Ron Hainsey's contract will expire giving them another $3 million in cap space.
The contracts for Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, and Par Lindholm will impact the negotiations for Matthews and Marner, but as things stand, the Leafs will be hard-pressed to re-sign Marner without a Nylander-esque dispute.