Leafs GM Brad Treliving reveals how he feels about Auston Matthews' new 4-year extension

Mike Armenti
August 25, 2023  (5:49 PM)

When Kyle Dubas was let go this spring, it shocked a lot of people. Largely viewed as one of the best young hockey minds out there and one of the youngest general managers in the game, it was never going to be easy to replace Dubas. However, when the Leafs announced that they had hired Brad Treliving as their new GM, it had a lot of people feeling a little better about the whole thing.

Treliving is lauded as one of the best character-guys in the business. The way he treats his people and conducts business is admired around the league. Not only is he highly respected, but with how well he has handled a very challenging offseason, it's abundantly clear that the Leafs probably did bring in the best possible replacement for Dubas.
This week, Treliving, along with Auston Matthews and his agent, Judd Moldaver, hammered out a new 4-year extension that will have Matthews remaining in Toronto for the foreseeable future, locked in through the 2027-28 season. Rumours had been flowing all season long that Matthews was targeting a 3-5 year deal in the $13M-$14M range, but there's no question from anyone that Matthews couldn't have demanded almost anything he wanted and he probably would have gotten it next summer - including an 8-year deal at $15M per season.
On Friday, Treliving had the opportunity to discuss the Matthews extension. He alluded to the fact that Matthews was in a pretty good position to ask for the sun, the moon and the stars. He also mentioned that Matthews was the one pushing to get a deal done before camp. In the end, he settled for a fair deal for both sides, which Treliving really seems to appreciate.
"You're talking about one of the world's best talents. And in the situation he was in, he could come in and demand a whole lot more than what he got. And that's just the reality.... To me, it was a partnership more than it was a negotiation." - Leafs GM Brad Treliving on the Auston Matthews extension

It's clear that Matthews likes the situation he's in with the Leafs. He's on a perennial contender, with a great core in place and a solid supporting cast. Toronto feels like his second home and he's confirmed a number of times that Toronto is where he wants to be. This deal certainly backs that up. He had also said that he wanted to leave a little bit of money on the table, which he certainly did as well. He won't even see a full $2M raise when his new deal kicks in, but rather a modest $1.6M raise.
In the end, it looks like Treliving's approach with Matthews was the right one. Treliving had stated early on that he doesn't plan to rush anything and that priority number one wasn't to sign these guys - it was to spend some time getting to know them and forming a bond with them. In the end, that extra time and effort seems to have paid off.
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Leafs GM Brad Treliving reveals how he feels about Auston Matthews' new 4-year extension

Are you happy with the Auston Matthews contract? (4 years, $13.25M per)

Yes38168.9 %
No, it needed to be 8 years427.6 %
No, it's too much money7213 %
No, it's too much money and not enough term5810.5 %
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