NHL Rumors: Early look at Auston Matthews next deal, and Nicolas Hague holdout?

nhl rumors auston matthews
Mar 29, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Mitchell Marner (16) is congratulated after scoring against the Boston Bruins by center Auston Matthews (34), defenseman Mark Giordano (55) and defenseman Morgan Rielly (44) during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews had quite an amazing 2021-22 season that ended by winning the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award. He also took home the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy for most goals in a season.

Matthews, 25, was the NHL’s first 60-goal scorer since 2011-12 when Steven Stamkos completed the feat. He finished this season with 60 goals and 46 assists for 106 points in 73 games.

Pretty astounding, that’s why many people will start to speculate about his next contract that’s due in the summer of 2024.

NHL Rumors: Auston Matthews next contract?

auston matthews
Mar 31, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs congratulate Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34) on scoring his 50th goal of the season during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

When Matthews won the Hart Trophy, he became the first Toronto Maple Leafs player since Ted Kennedy to win it since 1955. That season, Kennedy potted 52 points in 70 games to win the award.

“It’s nice. I can’t lie,” Matthews said via NHL.com. “It feels really good. It’s special to have my family here with me. A lot of great players in that room, a lot of really deserving guys. Definitely pretty special.”

Obviously, Matthews only focus right now is the upcoming season and helping the Maple Leafs end a Stanley Cup drought that’s been in effect since 1967. That won’t stop others from speculating if the two sides will engage in extensions talks when that window opens on July 1, 2023.

Matthews has two years remaining on his contract with an AAV of $11.64 million. The Leafs certainly don’t want to go into the 2023-24 season with unrelenting questions if Matthews may leave via free agency later that summer.

Talk about a distraction.

Currently, Connor McDavid is the top money getter in the NHL with an AAV of $12.5 million. That is not expected to last once Matthews signs his next deal, wherever that may be.

Based on what we know today, there’s every reason to believe the sides will end up being incentivized to work collaboratively on a new Matthews contract. They’ll have to find the sweet spot on term and dollars during the period following the Leafs last game in the spring and July 1.

Chris Johnston, Northstar Bets

Nicolas Hague holdout?

Jack Eichel Nicolas Hague
Feb 20, 2022; San Jose, California, USA; Vegas Golden Knights center Jack Eichel (9) celebrates with defenseman Nicolas Hague (14) after scoring a goal during the first period against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Training Camps will open this week, but it looks like Nicolas Hague may not be there when the Vegas Golden Knights start.

According to reports, there’s been very little progress in contract talks between the two parties. Even though Hague is in Vegas, he’s not going to show up to camp without a deal in place.

Hague, 23, registered 14 points in 52 games last season. Vegas selected giant-sized defenseman (6-6, 215 lbs) in the second round of the 2017 Draft.

The Knights are in a position of strength since Hague is a restricted free agent but without arbitration rights. Due to that fact, Hague’s camp only play is to holdout for a better contract.