Former Leaf thinks Auston Matthews is playing the Leafs like a fiddle

Published August 17, 2023 at 11:49

It's been six weeks since Auston Matthews was first eligible to sign a contract extension and, at the time, many believed it would be signed by now. Unfortunately, Leaf fans are still sitting around hoping he signs sooner than later and while the Leafs say they aren't worried about his extension getting done, the longer he goes without signing one, the chances of him leaving grow.

Yesterday on TSN's OverDrive, co-host and ex-Leaf Jeff O'Neill said that Matthews is running a perfect playbook right now and believes the Leafs need to sign him before training camp starts.

"He's showing good faith by saying 'this is where I wanna be, I wanna stay here, I wanna sign here,' and now he can just say the contract never worked out and do the ole John Tavares. If you start training camp with no contract, that basically means you're leaving. I think just like Tavares when he didn't sign at the beginning of the season and he kept saying 'this is business' and 'it's for my agent to work out,' that's code for saying I'm not coming back. That's what I took from the Tavares situation. All these other guys (Sebastian) Aho, 8-years, 8-years, 'I'm happy to be here' and then all of a sudden from the Matthews camp, gotta get creative cause there's another deal... I would find it frustrating how everyone is signing 8-years. 'I like it here', but if you like it, how come you wont do it (sign for 8 years)?" - Jeff O'Neill on the similarities between the Auston Matthews contract situation and that of John Tavares when he was set to become a UFA with the Islanders

Hearing O'Neill say that probably introduces a little more fear into the equation, but makes sense at the same time, given that Matthews has essentially grown up with and around Tavares and Tavares has been a mentor to him professionally. With training camp just a month away, time is ticking before it becomes an everyday discussion and distraction for the Leafs. This is one that they need to get done ASAP, regardless of what it means for Nylander.

August 17   |   560 answers
Former Leaf thinks Auston Matthews is playing the Leafs like a fiddle

With Matthews not having signed yet, do you think he's trying to screw the Leafs and walk as a UFA?

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No26347 %
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