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Auston Matthews signs contract with Maple Leafs

No. 1 pick gets $925,000 per season, plus bonuses, on three-year deal

by Pat Pickens @Pat_Pickens / Staff Writer

Center Auston Matthews, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.

"It feels good," said Matthews, who turns 19 on Sept. 17. "[The contract negotiation] was never an issue or a concern, but now that I've signed and everything's been agreed upon, it's definitely a pretty special feeling."

According to Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello, Matthews will receive the maximum $925,000 per season. Lamoriello confirmed the contract includes performance and signing bonuses.

"He's earned that," Lamoriello said. "He was picked No. 1 overall. He deserves the max that could be given."

Video: Maple Leafs sign No. 1 pick Auston Matthews

Matthews, a Scottsdale, Ariz. native, is the first United States-born player to be picked No. 1 since forward Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2007. Matthews is the first top pick of the Maple Leafs since Wendel Clark in 1985.

Matthews is the ninth first-round pick from this year's draft to sign an entry-level contract. Lamoriello said he and Pat Brisson, Matthews' agent, have had a deal agreed upon for weeks. Even though the framework was in place, the Maple Leafs did not announce the contract until Thursday because of various organizational happenings. Toronto had its development camp last week, which Matthews attended, and it unveiled some plans for its Centennial celebration. Lamoriello has also been negotiating with forward Peter Holland and defensemen Frank Corrado and Martin Marincin, who are restricted free agents.

"This was never in question from our end of it, I don't think from Auston's end of it, it was just when," Lamoriello said. "The agreement took place within 10 minutes of the first conversation Pat Brisson and I had when we talked about Auston's contract."

Video: Auston Matthews signs three-year deal with Toronto

Matthews (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) had 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists) last season with Zurich in National League A, Switzerland's top professional league, and was runner-up for the league's most valuable player award. He had seven goals and four assists in seven games for the United States at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.

Matthews is training and spending time with his family in Arizona but will head to Toronto in the coming weeks in preparation for training camp and the World Cup of Hockey 2016, which starts Sept. 17. Matthews and Team North America play Team Sweden on Sept. 18 (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports). All games will be played at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

"For the most part, I'll be [in Arizona] training here and skating a couple of times per week, and just spending time with my fans and family and being home as much as I can," Matthews said. "With the World Cup of Hockey, I know we have to report in early September, so I'm definitely looking forward to that."

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