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Matthews, Maple Leafs talking contract extension

But center says there's no rush for possible eight-year deal

by Mike Zeisberger @Zeisberger / NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Auston Matthews confirmed talks have started with the Toronto Maple Leafs about a contract extension, but the 20-year-old center said there is no urgency to get a deal done.

 

[RELATED: Maple Leafs add Tavares, eye deep playoff run | Matthews says being Maple Leafs captain 'not something I focus on']

 

"They preach patience," Matthews said Thursday, referring to his agent, Judd Moldaver, and Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas. "Both of them do. … When it gets done, it gets done. But I don't think anyone is in too much of a rush."

Matthews, who has one season left on his entry-level contract, will be looking for a significant raise after getting 132 points (74 goals, 58 assists) in his first two NHL seasons. He became eligible to sign an extension of up to eight years on July 1, and would become a restircted free agent if he does not sign this season.

"[The talks] are something I'm not really too in tune with," Matthews said. "I let my agent handle that so I can focus on my summer, focus on training and getting ready to go so I'll be ready for the start of the season."

Video: Sneak peek of Tavares and Matthews skating together

Matthews and Moldaver last month changed agencies to the group that represents Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, who last July 5 signed an eight-year, $100 million extension ($12.5 million average annual value) before playing the final season of his entry-level contract.

Matthews joined the Orr Group after leaving CAA Hockey, which represents forward John Tavares, who signed a seven-year, $77 million contract with the Maple Leafs as a free agent this offseason.

Matthews said he spoke to Tavares on the phone attempting to woo him to Toronto during the week leading up to July 1.

"I think a lot of times, when a person in his position is going through that process, you have a lot of people reach out to you, trying to make contact with you, and it can get overwhelming sometimes," Matthews said. "So I just talked to him briefly and told him how much we'd love to have him on our team. That was the gist of the conversation."

Matthews also had an offseason conversation with Toronto coach Mike Babcock in Arizona. Reports at the end of the season suggested Matthews had an issue with how he was being used during games, but he said speculation of a rift was taken out of context.

"I think it was a discussion," Matthews said. "I think you guys look too much into it. Obviously would have been better if the [meeting] hadn't been so out in the public, but the conversation went well. 

"Obviously you move on from it. The fact is, both of us hope to be here for a long time."

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