Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers, Key Post, Toronto Maple Leafs

Oilers: What The Matthews Extension Means For Connor McDavid

The Toronto Maple Leafs recently signed their superstar forward, Auston Matthews, to a four-year contract extension worth $13.25 million a season, making him the highest-paid player in the NHL with the most expensive contract in league history. Matthews became a stud when he joined the Maple Leafs, quickly earning a reputation as one of the league’s most lethal shooters and creative goal scorers.

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Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid – considered the best player in the world – has three seasons left on the massive extension he signed before the 2018-19 season with a $12.5 million cap hit. At the time, he became the highest-paid player in the NHL, and his next deal should make him the highest-paid again, as he could become one of the best players ever to lace up skates. 

What does Matthews’ extension mean for McDavid’s next contract? He’ll likely end up taking less than he’s worth to stay with the Oilers and lead them to a Stanley Cup. Matthews is a top-five player in the NHL, but McDavid is at another level, so asking for the same amount, or more, would make sense, but I don’t see that happening.

McDavid vs. Matthews

McDavid is a generational talent drafted first overall by the Oilers in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Matthews was also selected first overall, just a season later in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, and made an impact with the Maple Leafs, right away. Matthews has 299 goals and 542 points in 481, while McDavid has 303 goals and 850 points in 569 games and will likely pass the 1000-point mark this season. 

Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers Mackenzie Blackwood New Jersey Devils
Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers scores a goal on Mackenzie Blackwood of the New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

McDavid gained popularity quickly with his unbelievable speed and ridiculous stick-handling ability. While Matthews gained popularity for his wicked shot. While they have different styles, they are both franchise players. There is some concern from fans in Edmonton, and while Maple Leafs fans have been waiting anxiously for this new Matthews deal, it may be too steep for them to be able to retain the rest of their players. The Oilers shouldn’t have an issue with that, but they still have the right to worry until everything is set in stone, for sure.

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McDavid will eventually lead the Oilers to a Stanley Cup, there is no doubt about that, and since joining the NHL, he has had more playoff success with the Oilers than Matthews has had with the Maple Leafs. While stats and playoff success alone prove McDavid is worth more money, Matthews could remain the highest-paid player for a while longer after McDavid signs his next deal.

What Will Happen Next With McDavid?

If Matthews is worth $13.25 million per season, it’s easy to argue McDavid is worth $18 million per season. That number would take up a chunk of cap space even with the rising salary cap, and would force the Oilers to move other valuable assets or take pay cuts. McDavid has made it known he wants to win in Edmonton, so it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he agreed to accept a team-friendly deal on his next contract.

There’s no need to worry, Oil Country, following Matthews’ extension. The only thing that changes is that Matthews’ contract shows the true value of NHL stars. This will be the new comparison for stars looking to get paid, and teams will call “team-friendly” deals anything less than that. McDavid and the rest of the Oilers have stated on numerous occasions they want to stay in Edmonton, and that they’d be willing to take less money to pay the rest of the team.

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