TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Maple Leafs signed star center Auston Matthews to a four-year deal, $53 million contract extension on Wednesday.
The deal carries an average annual value of $13.5 million, which will make Matthews the league’s highest-paid player beginning in 2024-25, surpassing Colorado star Nathan MacKinnon’s $12.6 AAV.
Matthews has one season left on his current contract — a five-year, $58.2 million pact signed in February 2019 — that could have walked him into unrestricted free agency next summer.
The No. 1 overall pick at the 2016 draft won the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP in 2021-22 thanks to a league-best 60 goals that also propelled him to a second consecutive Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy.
The stats for the 25-year-old from Scottsdale, Ariz., dipped slightly in 2022-23, but still found the back of the net 40 times as part of an 85-point season over 74 games.
Matthews added five goals and six assists in 11 playoff games, helping Toronto beat Tampa Bay in six games in the opening round of the playoffs to advance in the postseason for the first time since 2004.
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The Associated Press