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Auston Matthews plans extension

DID AUSTON MATTHEWS JUST TIP HIS HAND AND HINT THAT HE PLANS TO SIGN HIS EXTENSION ON JULY 1ST?

SEP 22, 2022  (11H07)      MIKE ARMENTI
It might be something, it might be nothing, but something that most may not have picked up on during Auston Matthews' media availability on Wednesday could mean that Matthews and the Leafs are planning to announce an extension on July 1st, 2023 - a full year before he is set to become a UFA.

Matthews' contract situation was brought up immediately by the media and was followed up on just a couple of questions later, leading to Matthews speaking frankly on the matter and kindly pointing out that there was a lot of time before he was even eligible to sign an extension and informing the media present that he would not be taking any more questions on his contract status until after the season. It was the words that he chose to use that immediately peaked my interest.

"I appreciate the question, but I'm not going to be entertaining this question all year - I understand why you guys want to talk about it, but, at the same time, there's nothing that can be done. I'm under contract for two more years - I can't extend for another 10 months, so I'll just leave it at that, but I appreciate the question."

-Matthews' comments to the media when asked about his contract status

Like I said, it might be something, it might be nothing, but Matthews being fully aware of the fact that he is eligible for an extension in 10 months and using the term "10 months" instead of something more vague like "next summer" or "next year" could mean that the two sides have already begun working on the framework of an extension with the 10-month timeline in mind to iron something out.

It's really open to interpretation, but it wouldn't shock me in the least if we see a deal announced on July 1st, 2023. For the Leafs, it makes no sense to wait for that final year to kick in, when Matthews has a full NMC and the Leafs could be at risk of losing him for nothing. From Matthews' perspective, inking what should be the richest contract in NHL history and having the chance to play the vast majority of his career or his entire career with a storied franchise like the Leafs, the team that drafted him 1st overall in 2016, seems like a no-brainer. He's already called Toronto "home" and has sung the praises of the organization. I really don't see him going anywhere at this point. I'd suggest that it's probably more likely that he extends on July 1st than that he does anything else.

If you've yet to watch it, here's the link to Matthews' full media session from Wednesday. The particular section that sparked this discussion happens from around the 2 minute mark through the 3:20 mark.

DO YOU THINK MATTHEWS AND THE LEAFS ALREADY HAVE THE FRAMEWORK FOR A DEAL IN PLACE THAT THEY'LL ANNOUNCE ON JULY 1ST?
SEPTEMBER 22      224 ANSWERS
YES14263.4 %
NO5424.1 %
I DON'T EVEN WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT YET2812.5 %
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