Toronto Maple Leafs Sign Auston Matthews, Preseason One Month Away
In June, leading up to the start of the NHL’s free agency period, Gambling.com listed the priorities for new Toronto Maple Leafs’ general manager Brad Treliving to ensure his team remained in Stanley Cup contention for this upcoming season.
The biggest priority was getting superstar centre Auston Matthews inked to a new contract, and this week the Leafs pulled that off – the 25-year-old star signing a four-year extension at an average annual value of $13.25 million, making him the NHL’s top paid player.
Leafs Looking For First Title In 55 Years
Matthews is one of the best players in the league, even, as some contend, the 2022-23 campaign was an off-season for him.
Even so, Matthews last season still had 40 goals, 85 points and showed off a new commitment to the overall game – he was among the league leaders in plus/minus, at +31 (13th in NHL).
Fans would argue that Matthews is the best player in the league when talking overall game.
Matthews’ no-trade clause kicked in July 1, and he was heading into the last year of a deal that will pay him $11.6 million per year according to CapFriendly.
No one wanted the uncertainty that Matthews might not be resigned heading into a pivotal season for an organization that hasn’t won a Stanley Cup in 55 years.
Currently, BetMGM Sportsbook reports no movement on Stanley Cup futures line for the Leafs post Matthews signing, with the Leafs at 11.0, behind the Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche, both at 10.0, and tied with the Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils.
Over at PointsBet Canada it’s the Leafs at 12.0, following the Avalanche at 9.0, Oilers at 10.0 and Hurricanes at 11.5.
A contract signing, even for someone as important as Matthews, may not impact the futures betting lines late this week. Matthews was already under contract for the upcoming season.
But the betting line likely will change next month when players arrive at camp and things get real, with a contented superstar solidifying and leading a very talented roster.
The Leafs are still $2.943 million over the cap, so Treliving still has some roster moves to make over the next few weeks, with the season rapidly approaching.
The Leafs’ pre-season schedule starts Sept. 24 with a game against the Ottawa Senators. Toronto opens the regular season Oct. 11 at home against the Montreal Canadiens.
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