Major: Auston Matthews apparently decided not to sign with the Leafs until July 1st

Published May 22, 2023 at 7:27 PM

In the past few hours, renowned Sportsnet reporter Elliotte Friedman has shared some major news.

It's causing shockwaves in Toronto.

"According to my sources, it doesn't seem likely that Auston Matthews will sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs before July 1st. They will have some significant decisions to make." - Elliotte Friedman

What does this change? Several things.

If Matthews doesn't sign a new contract before July 1st, which appears to be the case, it could change everything.

Toronto journalists are discussing July 1st, 2023, as a critical date for the following reasons.

"The Maple Leafs absolutely need to avoid Matthews' no-movement clause. He will have full control, and the Leafs, on the contrary, will lose control over their decisions.

On July 1st, the last season of Matthews' current contract will come into effect, accompanied by a no-trade clause that could be disastrous for the team. Under no circumstances should the Leafs put themselves in this situation."

Essentially, after July 1st, even if the Leafs want to trade Matthews, it will be up to the team where Matthews wants to be traded, and consequently, the return in the trade could be very disappointing.

And if the Leafs decide not to trade Matthews for this season, they could lose him for nothing next year, which would obviously be catastrophic.

It's a very complex situation for them.

"On July 1st, Matthews gains all the bargaining power.

If he hasn't finalized a contract with the team to stay, he immediately finds himself in a position to dictate where he wants to go. On July 1st, Toronto - and whoever the general manager is at that time - will have to discuss with Matthews his willingness to go elsewhere. No movement can take place after this date without his approval, putting the Leafs in a delicate situation. What Toronto does with its roster will largely depend on the direction Matthews takes in the coming days."

A significant story to follow.

May 22   |   1460 answers
Major: Auston Matthews apparently decided not to sign with the Leafs until July 1st

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