For the Leafs, success will keep the Auston Matthews clock from ticking

In just over 13 months, the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise will cross a threshold.
Earlier this week, at the season-ending media availabilities, Brendan Shanahan said on Matthews “We’d like to make him a Leaf forever.” And despite ever-present anxiety in the fanbase, it’s not hard to imagine a world where Shanahan’s wish comes true.
In fact, it’s probably the most likely outcome.

Brendan Shanahan wants to make Auston Matthews “a Leaf forever.”
— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) May 17, 2022

July 1, 2023, is the first day that Auston Matthews will be eligible to sign an extension with the Leafs, and it is also the day that a full no-movement clause comes into effect on what will be the final season of his current contract.
A guarantee can be made right now that the narrative of Matthews’ ‘impending departure’ from the Leafs will begin on that day and continue to become unbearable until the moment arrives that an extension is signed, or Matthews becomes a free agent in July 2024. You could argue that the narrative began in February 2019, mere hours after Matthews’ current contract was signed.
It’s up to the Leafs now to prevent that narrative from ever getting a chance to spin up. And the way to do that is to validate Matthews’ belief in the team.

Auston Matthews says “we’re right there, we’re right there.”
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) May 15, 2022

Auston Matthews loves being a Leaf, this is well-documented. He’s one of the biggest stars in the game, playing on a team that gets more eyes on it than most other teams combined, and he relishes the spotlight. And as th …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

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