Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

What would Matthews’ extension look like in NHL 19?

The Matthews extension rocked the hockey world yesterday, as the Leafs franchise centre signed to a 5 year, $11.634 AAV contract extension.

While many are satisfied that our best player is signed for the long term, some think the Leafs could’ve done a lot better on getting Matthews on a team friendly deal.

Regardless of your thoughts, Matthews is sticking around for a little bit longer, and that keeps are cup window open for as long as Matthews and Tavares are sticking around for the next 5-6 years.

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But, let’s see how Matthews’ contract extension stacks up to the contracts that you could sign him to in one of the most accurate sports simulations: NHL 19’s GM mode.

To make things as accurate as possible, I simulated up to February 5, 2019 before signing Matthews, while making no trades, signings, or waiver claims.

So, as of that date in this simulation, these were Matthews’ salary demands based on the yearly term.

Term (years) Asking Price (millions)
1 $9.225
2 $9.3
3 $9.325
4 $9.625
5 $10.1
6 $10.775
7 $11.525
8 $12.05

So this is where we remember that EA Sports isn’t real life. It seems like NHL 19 Auston Matthews was more willing to sign the kind of contract that fans wanted than real life Auston Matthews. His five year ask is only $10.1 million (which is almost $1.5 million less than real life), you would need to offer him seven years for him to ask something close to his real life cap hit, and his eight year term ask is a very reasonable $12.05.

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It should also be noted that he wants the five year term in game, much like his real life counterpart.

However, this is where you can exploit EA Sports flaws to work in your benefit, something that I’ve done numerous times to build and keep dynasties together.

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For those of you that don’t know, when re-signing a player on your team before July 1st that wants to re-sign with you, you can offer them 85% of their asking price, regardless of the term, and they will more often than not accept it, although there are some exceptions.

So, let’s use this to our advantage. Here are the adjusted asking prices when you put the 85% glitch into the math.

Term (years) 85% of Asking Price
1 $7,841,250
2 $7,905,000
3 $7,926,250
4 $8,181,250
5 $8,585,000
6 $9,158,750
7 $9,796,250
8 $10,242,500

See, these seem like the probable starting points for the Leafs camp during this negotiation. Almost every deal except the eight year keeps Matthews under $10 million, and the five year deal is $8.585 million, which many may have thought would be the discount that the Leafs would have gotten for taking less term.

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So, for the sake of comparison, let’s sign Matthews to a five year, $8.6 million deal, and see what he says. It’s $8.6 because EA can only count by $25,000 in this game, so $8.6 million is the lowest possible AAV without going under the 85% threshold.

Well, it took no time at all, as the next day he accepts the deal. My NHL 19 Leafs save $3 million, which can now go to the Mitch Marner contract, who only wants a $7.8 million AAV if you offer him eight years.

Ladies and gentlemen, the most realistic hockey simulation engine.

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