The Leafs will surely have to make some upcoming moves with the cap in mind, so how drastic should those moves be?
I don't think this is a crazy question, although I assume any really bonkers number for Matthews is going to be on an eight year deal and an extra four years of MacKinnon will drive the AAV way higher than 6.3. pic.twitter.com/ojdLK0fyFa
— dellowhockey (@dellowhockey) January 13, 2019
To be able to acquire arguably the league’s best contract might be something that the Leafs will desperately need in the future. To sustain success with a young core, you need some players to take a pay cut.
In a deal sending 21-year-old Auston Matthews to the Colorado Avalanche for 23-year-old Nathan MacKinnon, the Leafs would be getting the Cole Harbour center for another four years after this season at the cap hit of only $6.3-million. That is only slightly more than what Patrick Marleau’s cap hit currently is.
The Avalanche have the cap space to re-sign Matthews as a restricted free agent and will gladly take him. He will no doubt demand and receive a contract with max-term and over $12-million – almost double of MacKinnon’s cap hit.
Acquiring MacKinnon would transform the Leafs into a must-win contending team with cap space to get assets and keep the players they already have. The Avalanche would stay competitive and be able to market their American star.
In his career so far, Matthews has a total of 94 goals and 80 assists for a total of 174 points in just 175 games – already a point-per-game player. While MacKinnon has two more seasons of experience, since Matthews has entered the league he has a total of 81 goals and 135 assists for 216 points in 202 games played.
It’s an interesting comparison, taking into account the future cap hits of the two players and the impact on both teams.
What do you think?