Matthews agrees to five-year, $58.17 million contract with Maple Leafs

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The contract makes Matthews the highest-paid player on the Maple Leafs (not to mention the NHL's second-highest paid player) - and few would argue that he doesn't deserve to be.

Pheonix Copley's new three-year, $3.3 million deal from Monday is looking rather diminutive.

Auston Matthews is locked in.

When he took over as GM last May, Dubas immediately had to contend with the prospect of re-signing Toronto's young core in Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner over the span of about 12 months.

1 overall pick to a five-year extension on Tuesday worth $11.634 million on an average annual value, the Maple Leafs announced.

Matthews opted for a shorter term and lower average annual value (AAV), the number that is used against the cap, which leaves more room to sign Marner, who is thought to be more inclined to seek the eight-year contract allowed under the collective agreement.

While Tampa Bay's frequently mentioned income tax rates are slightly advantageous (37% as opposed to Toronto's 46.16%), the Leafs' financial freedom to front-load massive signing bonuses on contracts can largely offset any unfair salary cap advantage that Tampa Bay might have (See John Tavares' contract).

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Of course, this works in Matthews' favour as well.

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

"We want to be a great team and a team that makes this city proud and accomplishes our ultimate goal for a long time", Matthews said.

In addition to Marner, Toronto has some more loose ends.

Matthews, who could have become a free agent on July 1, has scored 23 goals and assisted on 23 others this season for the Maple Leafs, who rank second in the Eastern Conference with 67 points after 32 wins in 52 games, trailing only league-leading Tampa Bay. It has been Marner's preference not to negotiate with the team in-season, with his agent, Darren Ferris, telling TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun in January the goal was to keep Marner's focus on the ice and not on contract talks.

The 21-year-old Marner leads the Leafs in scoring this season with 63 points (20 goals and 43 assists).

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