The Time-Traveling Toronto Maple Leafs Fan Recaps Last Season

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 26: Detail of the Toronto Maple Leafs logo on a players sweater during the third period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on March 26, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. Toronto defeats Nashville 3-2. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 26: Detail of the Toronto Maple Leafs logo on a players sweater during the third period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on March 26, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. Toronto defeats Nashville 3-2. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 4
Next
Toronto Maple Leafs
NEWARK, NJ – NOVEMBER 23: Auston Matthews #34 and William Nylander #88 of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Who Signed Contracts?

Although never confirmed, it was widely speculated that Auston Matthews and William Nylander sat down with Mitch Marner during September of 2023 and hashed out what needed to be done to maximize the Toronto Maple Leafs chances of winning the Stanley Cup.

The result was the pre-season signings of both Matthews and Nylander to contact extensions.  Matthews’ new deal came in at 7 years with an average annual salary cap hit of $12.6M (matching Nathan MacKinnon’s league-high AAV).  Nylander also re-upped for 7 years, with an AAV of $9.7M.

Both players could likely have played out the last year of their existing deal, hit the open market, and earned more as unrestricted free agents.  However, the fact was that the young stars were already established and comfortable in Toronto, and the team was entering the year as a strong Cup contender.  The core of the Toronto Maple Leafs demonstrated that they do, in fact, care more about winning than money.

Going forward, it is likely that Marner will also sign a reasonable extension when his turn comes on July 1, 2024 (I don’t know this for sure because it was only late June of 2024 when my friend jumped in his time machine).

At the end of the season, a new (much smaller) deal was in the works for John Tavares.  Mark Giordano announced his retirement.  Max Domi signed with the New York Rangers, his eighth team in eight years.  TJ Brodie and John Klingberg signed elsewhere (I can’t remember what my friend said).  Tyler Bertuzzi went back to Detroit, Ilya Samsonov went to the KHL, and Nick Robertson was traded to Dallas for a third round draft pick.