David Pagnotta of the NHL Network is reporting that the Toronto Maple Leafs are focused right now on evaluating their coaching staff and don’t have urgency at this time to speak with star forward Auston Matthews. He adds that they do intend to meet with the 25-year-old and his agent later this month, at which time they will presumably begin to talk about a contract extension for the upcoming unrestricted free agent. Matthews is just a year away from being able to walk out the door for nothing and the direction of the franchise will likely be dictated by what happens in the Matthews talks.
It’s an interesting approach from newly anointed general manager Brad Treliving given that he cited talking to Matthews as his number one priority at his introductory press conference. It’s also curious because he just came from a franchise in which he lost two 100-point scorers in a matter of months just one year ago. One would have to assume he will be prudent in making sure that doesn’t happen again with Matthews who has a no-trade clause that kicks in on July 1st.
In other news from around the league:
- Pagnotta also writes that talks between the New Jersey Devils and pending RFA Timo Meier have picked up this week, but he describes the situation with Jesper Bratt as status quo. Bratt and the Devils have a bit of a contentious relationship when it comes to negotiations as they have come up against each other in the past when it comes to money. This happened most notably last summer when they nearly went to arbitration but settled on a one-year deal just hours before they were set to square off. Bratt posted a career high 32 goals last season while posting his second consecutive 73-point season. He has bet on himself in the past and with just a year left until he is an unrestricted free agent, this could be the Devils toughest negotiation yet.
- Elliotte Friedman mentioned on The Jeff Marek Show today that he believes the Philadelphia Flyers are looking to move defenseman Tony DeAngelo. The 27-year-old continued to produce on the powerplay in his first season in Philadelphia but struggled at even strength and in his own defensive zone. The New Jersey native became a lightning rod for criticism, particularly from head coach John Tortorella who scratched DeAngelo multiple times last season. Philadelphia acquired DeAngelo last summer from Carolina for multiple draft picks and signed him to a two year $10MM contract. Many people questioned the move at the time and that continued into the season despite the defenseman’s offensive production. It’ll be curious to see if any teams bite on the gifted but limited rearguard.