Maple Leafs Sign Auston Matthews to Entry-Level Contract

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced that the team has signed forward Auston Matthews to a three-year entry-level contract on Thursday. TSN’s Chris Johnston reported that it is a maximum salary deal, meaning Matthews will earn $925,000 per year.

In recent days, questions arose about how Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello was negotiating the 18-year-old’s entry-level deal, as it was reported that Matthews sought the same entry-level contracts as Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid and Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel had received, which paid them the maximum amount under the current NHL’s current CBA.

Auston Matthews of the ZSC Lions
Auston Matthews played one season in Switzerland before the Maple Leafs selected him first overall this past June. (courtesy ZSC Lions)

On Aug. 7, 2015, after three seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Progam (USNTDP), Matthews surprised the hockey world when he announced that he signed a one-year contract with the Zurich Lions in Switzerland for the 2015-16 season, his last before his draft year. Before the announcement, there was speculation about whether Matthews would play U.S. college hockey, major junior hockey in Canada or play overseas. At the time, Matthews’ CHL rights belonged to the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League.

During the 2015-16 season with the Lions in the National League A, Switzerland’s top professional league, Matthews played in 36 games, tallying 24 goals and 46 points. In four playoff games, Matthews registered three assists.

In the 2014-15 season with the USNTDP Under-18 team, Matthews set a team record when he tallied 117 points, shattering the record of 106 points set during the 2005-06 season by current Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane.