In a rather lengthy interview with Mike Zeisberger of the NHL, franchise icon for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Auston Matthews, expresses his unwavering desire to stay in Toronto and is more than excited an extension was completed between the two sides. More than a year before he was originally set to become an unrestricted free agent, rumors were rampant suggesting Matthews may leave the Maple Leafs to sign with his hometown Arizona Coyotes or find an organization with less media pressure.
During the interview, when he was asked specifically about the rumors circulating about the next contract he would sign, Matthews said, “It was my mindset to come back all along. I felt I’ve been pretty clear about that. I really enjoy playing here, and I love the core guys I’ve been playing with going back to my early days here. And the way the staff treats us is amazing. I’ve kind of repeated these things, they’re all true, and it means a lot to me to be here. So, when I see stuff like some of the speculation this summer, I get a pretty good chuckle out of it because it’s just nonsense, to be honest with you“.
As many are well aware at this point, Matthews would sign a four-year, $53MM contract with the Maple Leafs, making him the highest-paid player in the NHL as soon as it starts. Although there was very little doubt that Toronto would regret re-investing in Matthews, he rewarded them early this season, scoring back-to-back hat tricks in the team’s first two games.
- A little over a week before the start of training camp this autumn, new depth defenseman for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Will Butcher, sustained an injury that would keep him out of all on-ice activities for over a month. Today, Matt Vensel of Post-Gazette Sports is reporting that Butcher is back to practice in a non-contact jersey, and will likely be sent to the team’s AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins very soon. Spending all of last season for the Texas Stars in the AHL, Butcher would score six goals and 37 assists in 65 games.
- In smaller news, Mark Divver of the New England Hockey Journal is reporting that the Providence Bruins, AHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins, have sent defenseman Ryan Mast to their ECHL affiliate, the Maine Mariners. Mast is a recent sixth-round pick of the Bruins back in the 2021 NHL Draft, and recently wrapped up a career with the Sarnia Sting of the OHL, scoring eight goals and 22 assists in 50 games during his last season.