When the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Auston Matthews sweep stakes, you could almost hear a collective sigh of relief from all of Leafs Nation (followed by unabated celebrations). This is understandable when you look at the hype around Matthews as a prospect contrasted with the all-time lowest point for a infamously starved fan base.
The Leafs identity has become all about their young skill players. With Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander all coming into the league at the same time, and all showing that they can be valuable assets moving forward, the Leafs find themselves in the tricky situation of trying to figure out what’s best when their rookie contracts expire next season.
And thus, the speculation begins. Many believe that Matthews – the most touted of the three – will take the contract year as an opportunity to test free agency. Whether that is true or not remains a huge question mark, but it may make Leafs fans feel better to hear that Matthews has no plans on leaving the Buds anytime soon.
As he explains in the video at the top of the page (beginning at the 3:42 mark), Matthews loves playing in the city.
From Leafs Lunch, when asked if he plans on being a Leaf long term, Matthews responded:
“Yeah, of course. I love playing here. The city, the fans, it’s obviously a huge honour to play in the mecca of hockey so, for myself, I definitely see myself being here for a long time.”
Things are certainly trending in the right direction for Matthews and the Leafs as their developing corps gets more and more comfortable in the league. On top of that, the signing of John Tavares is something that has gotten all members of the team excited, and definitely makes the Leafs one of the more dangerous teams down the middle.
It’s an exciting time to be a Leaf fan, and if Matthews’ comments resonate with anything, it’s that it is an exciting time to be a Leafs player as well.
(H/T TSN 1050)