Maple Leafs Make Star Center Auston Matthews the Highest-Paid Player in NHL History

Auston Matthews with Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews with Maple Leafs. Photo by Canadian Press/Shutterstock (12893916e)

The Toronto Maple Leafs have locked their star center Auston Matthews to a new four-year extension. The deal will keep Matthews with the franchise through the 2027-28 NHL season.

Matthews’ extension is worth $53 million and comes with a $13.25 million average annual salary. This makes him the highest-paid player on a per-year basis in the history of the league.

“I feel fortunate to continue this journey as a Maple Leaf in front of the best fans in hockey!” Matthews wrote on social media after the news was published. “I will do everything I can to help get us to the top of the mountain. GLG!”

Getting Matthews to agree on a new deal was the primary focus for the Maple Leafs this season, considering that the 25-year-old player was set to become a free agent next summer. The two sides discussed several options, including an eight-year contract, before reaching an agreement.

The shorter deal gives Matthews financial security for the time being while allowing him to possibly have another big payday later on. Toronto, on the other hand, secures one of the best players in hockey during his prime years while maintaining a degree of flexibility.

Since making his debut in the NHL during the 2016–17 season, Matthews has scored 299 goals and has 243 assists for a total of 542 points in 481 games. He made the NHL All-Star Game six times and won the Hart Memorial Trophy in 2022.