The Maple Leafs have signed their superstar to a five-year contract extension, the team confirmed Tuesday. "We went from everything from three (years) to eight, and we kind of settled on five and I think both sides are obviously happy".
The 34 at the end of the annual value of his new deal appears to be a nod to Matthews' uniform number.
Matthews has recorded 23 goals and 23 assists for 46 points in 38 games this season. The Scottsdale, Arizona native has also represented Toronto at the NHL All-Star Game in three consecutive seasons (2016, 2017, 2018).
The 21-year-old Marner leads the Leafs in scoring this season with 63 points (20 goals and 43 assists).
Tavares joined the Maple Leafs this past off-season when he signed a seven-year, $77-million contract in free agency.
The Maple Leafs, of course, also signed William Nylander to a huge extension through 2024 after Nylander held out for the first leg of the season.
Matthews' five-year deal, which kicks in next season, has an AAV of US$11.634-million, for a total value of US$58.17-million.
The deal is made up for by front-loading almost $15 million in signing bonuses, and Matthews' actual salary will be more in the neighborhood of $700,000. Reportedly nearly $71 million of his Toronto deal is in the form of signing bonuses.
"The sky's the limit for him", John Tavares, a fellow No. 1 pick who signed for seven years with an $11 million cap hit last summer, said of Matthews. In 2016-17, Matthews captured the Calder Trophy as the NHL's Rookie of the Year and was named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team after establishing Maple Leaf rookie records for goals (40) and points (69) in a season, which led all National Hockey League rookies in both categories.
That makes it even more unlikely Dubas will be able to sign pending unrestricted free agent Jake Gardiner, but the recent acquisition of defenceman Jake Muzzin, whose AAV is a much more cap-friendly US$4-million, makes this less of a problem.