Leafs give Auston Matthews a fully loaded rookie deal
If Lou Lamoriello really was playing hard ball with Auston Matthews, give 2016’s first overall pick credit for hitting it out of the park.
The Toronto Maple Leafs announced that they signed the rookie forward to a three-year entry-level contract on Thursday.
While the team didn’t lay out the specifics of the deal, it sounds like Matthews got exactly the sort of deal he wanted ... at least when you consider the stringent ceiling presented by rookie maximum rules in the CBA.
Auston Matthews' agent Pat Brisson says he "is getting the full permissible package for an entry level player" from the Leafs.— James Mirtle (@mirtle) July 21, 2016
Lamoriello: "As far as Auston getting the maximum that the CBA allows, he deserves that."— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) July 21, 2016
Any issues with Lamoriello were downplayed. Maybe it was just out of habit for the former New Jersey Devils GM?
For what it’s worth, Lamoriello brushed off any speculation.
Lamoriello says when he came to Toronto he decided that he wouldn't be operating the "New Jersey way."— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 21, 2016
It’s possible that most of Toronto’s work is done, at least for this off-season:
Nathan Horton’s $5.3 million cap hit and Stephane Robidas’ $3 million mark could both go on LTIR, depending upon the Maple Leafs’ needs, so that number is a little fluid.
The bottom line is that Matthews isn’t breaking the bank. The question is: can the Leafs improve fast enough to truly benefit from the star American forward essentially being underpaid during this entry-level deal?
In other Maple Leafs news, old banners are being replaced. Almost feels like a changing of the guard, huh?