It’s fascinating watching the NHL catch up in the cap age. Contract wise agents and GM’s are focusing on new tangents which make sense for both parties.
Right now the buzz is over Leaf highly overrated centre Auston Matthews.
In this writer’s opinion until you’ve done it in the playoffs you don’t get to be in certain circles that Toronto being Toronto, Mathews is being treated as belonging to.
The contract, heavily weighted to protect Matthews from a lock out, is for 5 years @ $11.64m capwise.
In the team’s favor these should be the best 5 seasons of Matthews career. His next contract, if he doesn’t Lindros out, may be for more Benjamins, but this is his prime time.
That’s a lot of money for someone that’s never crested 70 points, has only one full NHL season to his claim, and is just barely over .5 points per game in the playoffs.
Of course a few good playoff rounds may make the Leaf GM look like a genius, but right now the Leafs real star, Mitch Marner needs a new deal. (Hi Mitch and thank you kindly for those facebook likes!)
Marner clearly wants to be a Leaf, but the leverage is all his, and how he handles this essentially will define his career in Toronto and the cap future of the Leafs. IF he holds out for absolute top cash that would be bad karma.
A full term team friendly deal would be a positive commitment to Leaf Nation. That still will be a lot of money and right now the team has to have cap space for another D man, Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson.
The big question on D is if Travis Dermott can overall replace Jake Gardiner in value and if Ron Hainsey would resign up for less than the $3M he’s on the books for.
The pieces can fit without jettisoning a major piece of the team, but it till take some magic as there’s not a lot of wiggle room on the roster unless a major trade involving Nylander or Zaitsev is moved.