The Toronto Maple Leafs discover themselves in a precarious place as they navigate contract negotiations with their star participant, Auston Matthews. Recent developments and rumors recommend that the group’s administration, led by Brendan Shanahan and MLSE, is getting ready for difficult instances and difficult negotiations. The departure of former basic supervisor Kyle Dubas and the seek for a brand new supervisor has added an extra layer of uncertainty to the scenario. And, with information that Matthews isn’t keen to signal an extension earlier than July 1 — as a result of he needs to see how every thing performs out first — issues simply went from unclear to doubtlessly explosive.
It was urged that the Maple Leafs (no less than Kyle Dubas) have been mildly comfy letting Matthews go previous the July 1 deadline and finally make a decision to stay with the group. Others famous that though this was a danger, they felt it was much like David Pastrnak’s scenario in Boston, the place the Bruins weren’t thrilled he was ready, however remained assured an extension would ultimately get achieved.
Friedman famous in Monday’s 32 Thoughts podcast: “If Matthews hadn’t signed with Dubas there they would have kept him and they believe they would have gotten it done. Now, nobody is really sure, so that’s obviously the biggest story.” The various was checking the marketplace for a commerce, even thought Dubas was ready to make Matthews the highest-paid participant within the league. Now, with Dubas now not in cost, the group’s stance and Matthews’ notion of the group’s path stay unsure.
Convincing Matthews to Stay
At this level, it’s not clear what Matthews is pondering. It’s one factor to supply him a profitable contract, however now the Maple Leafs should persuade him of their long-term imaginative and prescient and their means to compete for championships. Matthews is undoubtedly a gifted participant, however the place is that this group going? Who will likely be in cost and can the brand new basic supervisor show a transparent plan for achievement and supply Matthews with the arrogance to commit his future to the group earlier than July 1? That’s a tall ask.
One reported problem in any future negotiations is Matthews’ desire for a shorter-term contract, doubtlessly restricted to 4 or 5 years. This can be the second time in his profession he’s gone this route and a brand new basic supervisor might not be so eager to oblige. Balancing Matthews’ wishes with the group’s pursuits will likely be a fragile activity.
For that motive, it shouldn’t come as a shock that hockey insider Elliotte Friedman notes the Maple Leafs are actively in search of a brand new basic supervisor with a tenacious and assertive method. More particularly, they need somebody with “some bite”, which suggests a departure from Dubas’ administration fashion. Friedman provides that the Leafs need somebody in place who could make daring choices and never draw back from tough decisions.
Navigating the Matthews July 1 Contract Deadline
One of the numerous challenges dealing with the Maple Leafs is the looming contract deadline of July 1. The Leafs can negotiate prior or commerce the participant prior, however as soon as that date kicks in, so does Matthews’ no-move clause. Losing leverage in any future commerce decides on Matthews some of the important choices the group will face all season. In no unsure phrases, their selection could have a big impression on the group’s path and long-term success.
Related: Turmoil in Toronto: Shanahan Prevented Multiple Dubas Decisions
Friedman added, “I did have one player reach out to me and say that they weren’t even sure if Matthews would have signed by July 1 with Dubas, cause if they made big changes around the draft, the question became how would Matthews feel about it?” There are adjustments inevitably coming and it is sensible that Matthews would need to sit again and watch issues unfold earlier than committing.
Anything Can Happen at This Point with Matthews and the Maple Leafs
According to Jeff Marek, permitting Matthews to go previous July 1 unsigned can be doubtlessly disastrous for the group. For such a situation to unfold can be unthinkable for the Maple Leafs. The potential of shedding Matthews with none return is a franchise-altering nightmare. Previous managers might have taken dangers, however this example goes past something skilled earlier than, and granting Matthews the ability to stroll away for nothing can be a catastrophic mistake.
Friedman’s report implies that Matthews has already made up his thoughts on that entrance, thus the scenario turns into much more difficult. If Matthews is just not keen to fulfill the group the place they’re at with all of those mega franchise adjustments, the Leafs might haven’t any selection however to discover the potential of a commerce. And, if he’s traded, what different dominos fall?
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