Rielly scores winner for Leafs in Battle of Ontario

Rielly scores winner for Leafs in Battle of Ontario

"We made the investment in Auston because he has shown tremendous potential and he is a centre who scores at an elite rate that few have matched in their first three years in hockey", Dubas said. He comes from a great family, so he has that instilled in him. "So it doesn't matter who you're playing on any given night". And there will be tax savings for Matthews. A first-round pick in 2016, Matthews will be 27 when this extension expires.

Negotiations began last summer and were amicable most of the way.

The contract's average annual value of $11.634 million will make the former first overall draft pick the highest paid player in Leafs history - and the second highest in the National Hockey League behind only Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid - when the contract kicks in next season.

"I am going to be myself every day, have fun and do what I love". Maybe people haven't seen that in a couple years, but it's not like, uncommon. "It's very special, I feel extremely honoured".

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.

Ferris said the Leafs tabled a low offer last summer, but added that's standard practice at that time of year.

That sets an example in the room, and though Matthews stressed on Tuesday that he doesn't take his job for granted, he didn't have to.

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"It's a blast playing with him", center John Tavares said.

"We were playing well and then we just got careless and we never really seemed to be able to get it back", lamented Babcock, who liked his team's start. "They're a very talented team, a Stanley Cup contender, and obviously to play well like that against them, it can be a positive for us". His agent, Darren Ferris, revealed Tuesday that stance is due to a severe undervaluation by the Maple Leafs in prior discussions. "So at the end, when we get up (Thursday) in the standings, it's going to look pretty good". There's no really no rush for anyone, I think the Leafs know that as well. "Just something that was there".

The 21-year-old from Scottsdale, Ariz., has 97 goals and 81 assists in 182 regular-season games with the Leafs.

Dubas has been met with challenges in his first year on the job, whether it was convincing John Tavares to sign last July, stickhandling through the at-times hard William Nylander negotiations or trying to improve the Leafs via trade, which he did last week in acquiring defenceman Jake Muzzin.

With over $71 million locked up in 14 players, signing Mitch Marner this off-season becomes the new priority. Think about it: a Toronto kid stiffing his hometown team - which is on the cusp of great things - just for a fatter wallet?

Boucher thought his team, up 2-1, should have put the game away in the second period but could not convert good scoring chances. "Again, the market will dictate the market at that time and I'm sure there will be continued banter back and forth between us and them".

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