At the Maple Leafs’ end-of-season media availability, Auston Matthews discussed the team’s disappointing end to the playoffs, his contract status, and whether Toronto is the place he wants to be going forward.

What sort of progress do you feel was made this season?

Matthews: It is kind of easy to look at it, and you get out of the first round, so it is a big talking point. But the main goal every year is to challenge and win. We still haven’t met that.

Throughout the season, there are ups and downs and adversity that is thrown your way — lessons and experiences that are really important in the evolution as a person, a player, the organization, and the team.

Considering the top teams that are out of the playoffs, does it feel like more of a missed opportunity?

Matthews: Any time you fall short, it feels like a missed opportunity. I am not sure. We played Boston, and they went to the final. We played Montreal, and they went to the final. You look at those and think of missed opportunities.

In the end, when you lose and your season is over, you kind of think of it that way, I guess.

Has the team shown enough for you to want to be here long-term?

Matthews: Yeah, of course. My intention is to be here. I think I have [reiterated] that before how much I enjoy playing here and what it means to me — the organization, my teammates, and how much I enjoy being here.

How important is it to get the contract done before next season?

Matthews: I think it is important. It will all kind of work itself out in due time. It will go from there.

As far as everything else goes, as I have said before, I really do enjoy playing here. It is a true honour. The work that we are putting into continuing to strive for that end result is extremely motivating.

What do you enjoy about working with Kyle Dubas?

Matthews: I think he is a great GM. I think he has built a really good culture here. When you talk to guys that come from other teams and other organizations, what he has been able to build here is great. I have a really great relationship with him.

Everybody’s goal in mind is to win. When those expectations don’t get met or you fall short, people point the finger and what not, but my experience with Kyle has been a really positive one.

Kyle Dubas’ contract is up as GM. If for whatever reason does he not sign or stay here, how much does it affect your long-term thinking?

Matthews: I understand the question, but it is kind of hypothetical with the what-if. I am not really going to comment on that too much.

I have a good relationship with Kyle. That is really all I have to say.

 Were you injured at all in the playoffs?

Matthews: You get the bumps and bruises and deal with certain stuff as everybody is. It is just kind of the nature of the game and the playoffs especially.

Was there an issue with your hand or anything that affected your shooting?

Matthews: There was something I was dealing with a little bit throughout the season and a little bit throughout the playoffs. In the end, it is my job to push through that and do what I can to help the team win.

How do you think the team can get over the hump?

Matthews: If I had all the answers, I wouldn’t be standing here right now.

You go through those experiences. Like any team that has won before, you go through a lot of stuff that maybe you wish you wouldn’t have or would prefer not to. I think it is just kind of the evolution of growing into a team that competes for championships year after year and puts themselves in positions to continue to contend. That is what we are trying to do and trying to build here.

It is no secret that we have fallen short plenty of times. I think it is just the motivation factor of picking yourself up after you fall down and continuing to put the work in. With this group, we continue to pull for that goal.

As you get ready to leave for the summer, do you get a sense when chatting with people in the exit meetings whether things might look very different, a little different, maybe seismically different when you come back in the Fall?

Matthews: I am not sure. The sense is that it is kind of up in the air. There is stuff that is out of my control, and I can’t really comment on that, I guess.

You have the ability to have a voice in this organization as anybody, though. You have probably the most power of any player. What would you tell management about the core of this team and whether or not it should be kept together and whether it could win a Stanley Cup?

Matthews: Those conversations are meant to be in private. I don’t know if I am really going to comment on that.

My belief in the core players and the guys that have been here has never wavered. I still believe in that.