Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs agree to five-year contract extension through 2024 season

The Toronto Maple Leafs just keep locking up their stars. The Leafs and forward Auston Matthews agreed to a five-year contract extension that will keep Matthews in blue and white through the 2023-2024 season, the team announced on Tuesday. The deal has a cap hit of $11.634 million per year, (totaling $58.17 million), and it will make Matthews the second highest-paid forward in hockey over teammate John Tavares and behind the Oilers' Connor McDavid.

Matthews, 21, would have been a restricted free agent after this season.

The Maple Leafs, of course, also signed William Nylander to a huge extension through 2024 after Nylander held out for the first leg of the season. Next on the list will be Mitch Marner, who is yet another restricted free agent after this season and also leads the team in points at 63. Matthews is fourth in points with 46, and second in goals with 23 behind Tavares.

Through the first two-and-a-half seasons of his career, Matthews has 178 points, with 97 of those points coming on goals. He's an elite scoring threat from the wing and has made the All-Star team in each of his three NHL seasons. A first-round pick in 2016, Matthews will be 27 when this extension expires.

According to SportsNet's Chris Johnston, the vast majority of Matthews' contract will be paid in signing bonuses -- 93 percent, to be precise. It's a strong incentive for a young player.

As of now, the Maple Leafs are 32-17-3, good for 67 points and second in the Atlantic behind the Lightning. They're trying to make a Stanley Cup push this season, but the extensions of Nylander and Matthews to join Tavares long-term have their window wide open for a long time.

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