According to TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, a contract extension between the Leafs and Matthews is considered “imminent.”
Matthews, 21, is in the final year of his Entry Level Contract and can become a restricted free agent as of July 1.
Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet reported on Hockey Central at Noon on Tuesday that the deal will be for five to six years with an AAV of $11.5million-11.75 million. Although it is unclear when exactly the deal will be announced, Kypreos termed the extension as “on the horizon.”
McKenzie believes the deal will be around $11.5 million, “give or take 100K or 200K.”
Hearing TOR and Matthews closing the extension. Will be five years, between $11.5-11.7 AAV
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 5, 2019
Auston Matthews didn't speak with media after today's practice https://t.co/TqrEdtNZlG
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) February 5, 2019
Leafs 5-on-5 points per 60 leaders this season:
1. Auston Matthews: 3.11
2. John Tavares: 3.10
3. Mitch Marner: 3.01
4. Andreas Johnsson: 2.56
— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) February 5, 2019
Situation today is no different than what we reported on @LeafsLunch1050 yesterday — Auston Matthews’ contract extension with TOR appears imminent. Today, tomorrow, whatever, it’s getting done. Projection is 5 years with an AAV of $11.5M, give or take 100K or 200K.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 5, 2019
With Matthews reportedly close, Darren Ferris, agent for Marner, still thinking to wait until after season for serious negotiations, though that could change: "The whole purpose is for Mitch to focus on the year. I want his mind clear. There is lots of time for a contract."#Leafs
— Terry Koshan (@koshtorontosun) February 5, 2019
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) February 5, 2019
38 g, 23 goals, 46 pts
52 g, 22 goals, 80 points
51 g, 31 goals, 76 points
Should Matthews sign for the expected amount, it will give the Leafs two players making at least $11 million per season (the other being John Tavares). It will also switch the attention to fellow RFA-to-be Mitch Marner, who is also due an extension.
Darren Ferris, who represents Marner, has told Dubas that he is not interested in negotiating a deal for his client during the season, but that could change once Matthews gets locked up. The wide speculation is that Ferris would like to see the Matthews deal get finalized first and then negotiate his client’s contract accordingly.
Marner, 21, has 63 points in 52 games so far this season, so his expected ask will likely come at an AAV north of $10 million.