Insider explains why Matthews signing before Nylander doesn't help the Leafs in any way

Mike Armenti
July 17, 2023  (10:41)

As the Leafs are off enjoying their summer, the fanbase is patiently (or not so patiently) awaiting announcements regarding the contract extensions for Auston Matthews and William Nylander. At this point, it feels like we're running around in circles, chasing our tails, but that's what summer is in the hockey world. A lot of waiting and a lot of speculation.

The Fourth Period's David Pagnotta joined Leafs Morning Take on Sunday to discuss a number of the most popular topics in Leafs Nation, so of course, the Nylander and Matthews extensions were discussed. During the program, Pagnotta revealed that Matthews is currently overseas enjoying a vacation, so as you might expect, there are no talks to speak of there.
Pagnotta did mention, however, that Matthews putting pen to paper is merely a formality at this point. A deal is getting done. Both the team and the players know what it's going to be, but according to Pagnotta, Matthews likely won't sign before William Nylander because of the potential can of worms it might open up with Nylander perhaps increasing his ask if Matthews ends up with a $14M AAV.
"I don't think there's any concern from either side... They WILL get a deal done. Auston Matthews WILL sign an extension with the Leafs. 3 years, or 5 years - it's going to range from $13M-$14M, in that neighborhood. He WILL become the highest paid player in the league from an AAV perspective... if it's 5 years, it's going to be closer to $14M. The Leafs understand that. They know that. Their focus needs to be, should be, and has to be Nylander right now.

Auston Matthews signing before William Nylander doesn't help the Leafs, at all, because now Willy's going to turn and go, 'well if he's getting $13.7M, or $13.5M or $14M or whatever it is - I'm asking for $10M, and I scored 40 goals. I was more productive than Auston Matthews last season.' Then they're going to turn around and say 'yes, great, but Alex DeBrincat got $7.785M', 'alright, well, Sebastian Aho is about to get $9.5M', so you've got to find a happy medium here and that's what the Leafs need to prioritize at the moment, is try to get William Nylander locked in. They're going to get Auston signed. There's no concern there, but you've got to get William Nylander signed, and it has to be before hand. You don't want this circus going into training camp. You don't want this going into the season. You're hosting All-Star Weekend.. you gotta get these done and if you can't, you've gotta be straight up with everybody, and that especially includes the fans." - Pagnotta on the Leafs' negotiations with Nylander and Matthews

The Leafs would be wise to push to get a deal done with Nylander before Matthews, absolutely. However, if Nylander decides to play hard ball and doesn't sign, should the Leafs then wait on getting Matthews' deal done before training camp? Or should they just get the Matthews deal done and worry about the rest later? It's highly unlikely, at this point, that Nylander gets dealt. If that was going to happen, it likely would have happened at the draft, as Alberga pointed out on today's show. It's a tough predicament that the Leafs are in with Nylander right now and it's one that doesn't have a simple solution, especially if the Leafs would be taking a loss in a deal involving Nylander.
17 JUILLET   |   570 ANSWERS
Insider explains why Matthews signing before Nylander doesn't help the Leafs in any way

Do you think it matters which order Nylander and Matthews sign in?

Yes, Nylander will want more if he signs 2nd17029.8 %
No, the contracts would be the same regardless13323.3 %
Just get them both done and announce them together26746.8 %
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