As it turns out, while some in the media and fanbase were discussing Auston Matthews’ KHL options, the Toronto Maple Leafs were putting the final touches on the Matthews’ three-year entry-level contract.
In the end, after all the baseless speculation and hand-wringing, this contract got done earlier than Patrick Kane and Steven Stamkos’ ELCs did, and a few days after John Tavares’, following their respective drafts.
The answer to the million-dollar question has also been answered: It includes the maxed-out bonus structure.
Auston Matthews signs entry-level deal with #leafs. Includes max bonuses and salary, per sources.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 21, 2016
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
Auston Matthews‘ AAV will be $3.775 million for the upcoming season while his cap hit comes in at the base salary of $925,00 ($2.85 million in peformance bonuses).
From the club:
The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that the hockey club has signed forward Auston Matthews, the first overall selection in the 2016 NHL Draft, to a three-year entry-level contract.
Matthews, 18, collected 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists) in 36 games with the NLA’s ZSC Lions last season, while registering nine points (six goals, three assists) in 10 games with the United States at the IIHF World Championship and 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in seven games at the IIHF World Junior Championship. He was honoured as one of the United States’ Top 3 players at both tournaments.
In 2014-15, Matthews registered 117 points (55 goals, 62 assists) with the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP) Under-18 team, breaking the previous record of 102 set by Patrick Kane in 2005-06.
The Scottsdale, Arizona native was named to Team North America’s roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey earlier this year.
This should put to rest much of the concern that Lou Lamoriello can’t adapt to the times or that he is ruling the Leaf front office with an iron fist. See you at camp, Auston.
Lou Lamoriello Conference Call on the signing of Auston Matthews – Transcription
Congratulations on the new contract. It feels like everything for both of you kind of locked in. I know you both had a chance to meet each other and talk before and go through development camp. How much more comfortable have you gotten throughout this process?
Lamoriello: First of all, I think that the comfort that I have with Auston Matthews — through spending some time with him at the World Championships and also having the opportunity to meet his family and then watching how he has handled himself throughout the process prior to the draft and then post-draft – from my end of it, and our organization’s, is exceptional. As far as the process as far as this contract, this was never in question — from our end of it, and I don’t think from Auston’s end of it. It was just when. The agreement took place, I would say, within ten minutes of the first conversation that Pat Brisson and I had when we talked about Auston’s contract. Pat and I have been doing contracts for a number of years together. We’ve had a lot of different players that we’ve worked with. This was never an issue at any point. Auston was number-one overall. The agreement that he has with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he’s earned this. He deserves what he’s getting. It was never a question from us on this. I think everyone was questioning a lot of different things for a lot of different reasons, but the comfortability with both the contract and Auston is exceptional.
If it only took ten minutes, why did it take so long. I know you don’t like giving out bonuses but you did in this case. Why did you make an exception here, and why did it take until the middle of July to sign a deal that the parameters for were available within ten minutes of drafting him?
I think that when Mike, Brendan and I got together, we said we would not be operating the New Jersey way, the Detroit way; we would be doing it the Toronto way.
Lamoriello: I guess the first question is, what was the rush? It’s only been a little over three weeks. We had a development camp to go through. We had other players that we had to sign. We had arbitration situations. We didn’t think it was a rush. We knew what was going to transpire. I don’t like the thought process sometimes that because something was done somewhere else… there were a lot of assumptions that were made. I think that this is maybe a good time to bring this forward. I think that when Mike, Brendan and I got together, we said we would not be operating the New Jersey way, the Detroit way; we would be doing it the Toronto way. There are always reasons for what you do. It’s not to throw anybody off. It’s not to make anybody feel uncomfortable. It’s just the way that we’ll operate. Sometimes there will be questions why, but there is no deceit involved. There is no trying to pull a fast one. In this situation here, there was nothing unique about it. I had other picks over the years sign at different times. Not that there was any problems. I think the rush is on everyone else. I think we have to make those decisions internally for when it takes place.
Now that it is done, can you talk about expectations for Auston at training camp?
Lamoriello: Like any other player, especially a first-year player, we all know what Auston is capable of because he’s done it. We certainly have no pressure on Auston to do this, that, or the other. We want him to come into camp as comfortable as he possibly can. He knows we believe in him. It’s obvious. He was picked number one overall. We just want him to be himself; not to try and do something out of the ordinary. Just do what he’s been doing for the number of years that he’s been playing and allow the end result to take care of itself.
A quick follow-up – can you say anything about the upcoming arbitration hearings? Are you any close to the deals prior to the arbitration for the three players?
Lamoriello: This is not the time to be speaking about that. We’ll handle that at the appropriate time. Right now, we are talking about Auston.
Some of the players at development camp talked about the video show on one of the first nights about being a Leaf and the responsibilities that go with that. How would you characterize the rights and the responsibilities and what it means to be a Leaf?
Lamoriello: I think that the most important thing is that the Leaf itself is what the face of the organization is. Each and everyone of us here who is a member of it, whether we’re a player, in administration, whether we’re on a staff, are parts of that, and it’s up to us to perform at the best of our abilities collectively to have the Leaf have the results we all want. To be a Leaf you have to give up your own identity at times to have success.
You said you’re doing things the Toronto way. What’s the Leafs’ view on entry-level bonuses?
Lamoriello: The Leafs’ view – well, entry-level bonuses have been given in Toronto in the past. This is not anything different. As far as Auston getting the maxmimum that the CBA allows – as I said earlier, he’s earned that. He was picked number one overall. He deserves the max that could be given. If that’s the philosophy, then that’s the philosophy. We don’t look at it that way… Contracts that someone deserves, they should get.