Auston Matthews discusses addition of John Tavares (TSN)
Auston Matthews met with the media at the Marner Assist Fund event and discussed the addition of John Tavares to the team as well as his ongoing contract negotiations.
On whether he played a role in the recruitment of John Tavares:
I gave him a call and talked to him on the phone one day. I think a lot of times, when you’re going through that kind of process, a lot of people are trying to reach out to you and trying to get into contact with you. It can get overwhelming sometimes. I just wanted to talk to him on the phone briefly and let him know we’d love to have him and that I think he’d be a great fit on our team. That was the gist of the conversation. Obviously, we’re extremely happy that he chose to sign with Toronto.
On whether he’s met Tavares before:
We met at the All Star Game. I met him a couple of times in the summer skating with Darryl Belfry. I know him a little bit. Obviously, he’s a guy who takes his craft extremely seriously. He has been one of the premiere players in the NHL since he’s been in the league. If you can get a player of that calibre on the roster, it takes us to another level.
On the potential captaincy decision:
I’m not the one making the decisions, right? In the end, I think Kyle, Babs and everybody is just kind of preaching patience. They’ll figure all of that stuff out. In the end, that is kind of up to them. That is not something I focus on too much. I just focus on getting better myself and playing hockey and having fun.
On how often he’s not been the captain of his team:
A lot. I usually played up [in age groups] growing up. I was kind of the younger guy on the team. It’s kind of tough to hand a guy who is two or three years younger than everyone else the captaincy. I was the assistant captain at the national team. As far as that goes, that’s about it.
On what the addition of Tavares provides for the team:
It gives us a lot of depth, obviously, when you’ve got three guys with that amount of talent and that amount of skill [down the middle]. I think it causes a lot of matchup problems for the other team. We’re extremely excited to have John. He makes our team a lot better. It’s another step toward reaching our ultimate goal.
On potentially playing with Patrick Marleau on his wing, as Mike Babcock has hinted:
I’m excited about it. Patty and I are really close. He’s been in the league for so long and he’s such a smart player. For his age, he still skates like the wind. He put up really good numbers as of last year. He’s a guy that can finish. To be able to play with a guy of his calibre and what he can do on the ice – his resume speaks for itself – it’s pretty exciting for myself.
On his meeting with Mike Babcock after the playoffs ended:
I think it was just a discussion. I think you guys look too much into it. It probably would have been a little bit better if it wasn’t so out in the public. The conversation went well. Obviously, you move on from it and you go forward. Both of us hope to be here for a long time and move forward and continue to take steps.
On Lou Lamoriello’s departure from the organization and the promotion of Kyle Dubas to GM:
Lou drafted me. I got to know him over the course of the two years. He’s a great person. He did so much for this organization. Everybody is very thankful just to be around a guy of his resume – already a Hall of Famer. Pretty sad about him leaving, but you bring in a guy like Kyle Dubas and his plan and his vision and everything he wants to accomplish, it’s very exciting. Obviously, you wish Lou the best. My sisters loved him and my parents loved him. They were really close. It’s always sad to see a guy like him leave the organization, but I think everyone is really excited about Kyle Dubas.
On whether contract negotiations are underway:
They’ve obviously started. That’s not really something that I am too into. I kind of let my agent and management handle that. I focus on my summer and focus on training and getting on the ice and feeling ready for the season.
On whether a contract will get done before the season starts:
I don’t know. They preach patience, obviously, Kyle and my agent, and my team. When it gets done, it gets done. I don’t think anyone is in too big of a rush.