A recent statement by prominent analyst Elliotte Friedman on 32 Thoughts Podcast has stirred up quite a storm among NHL fans, particularly those closely following the Toronto Maple Leafs and their star players. The discussion was centered around Mitch Marner, his future contract, and the surprising comparison to his teammate, Auston Matthews.
In a thought-provoking comment, Friedman said:
“What is Marner’s next number? Because he was the closest one to Matthews. When Matthews signed for 11.634 AAV all of a sudden Marner became close to an $11M player, so now Matthews’ number is 13.25, what’s Marner’s number? Is it 13.249999?”
Taking to Twitter, fans have expressed a range of emotions in response to Friedman’s projection. One fan’s tweet succinctly captured the sentiment of many, stating,
“Marner at 13M a year is hilarious.”
Predictably, fans have been quick to offer their own predictions and analysis. One tweet captured the middle ground, stating,
“Not saying he will hit 13 but he will get a raise and if I had to guess it’s at least 12.”
The emotional investment of fans is evident in yet another tweet that humorously quipped,
“I’m here for the 1 line getting Toronto to only round 2 again.”
Friedman’s seemingly innocuous projection has ignited a firestorm of opinions and reactions from NHL fans.
What is the influence of the contracts of Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner on William Nylander’s future with the Maple Leafs?
The Toronto Maple Leafs made a significant announcement, revealing Auston Matthews’ contract extension on Wednesday. The news brought relief to the team’s fans, as Matthews agreed to a four-year extension worth $13.25 million annually, starting from the 2024-25 NHL season and extending to his 31st year. This deal positions Leafs Center as the highest-earning player in the NHL, a development that had been anticipated.
Following the contract extension news, fans began speculating about the implications for William Nylander’s future with the team.
Nylander is set to become a free agent next year and had reportedly sought a contract of around $10 million, while the team aimed to secure him for around $8 million. One reason for the impasse is that the Maple Leafs intend for Nylander to accept a lower salary to enable them to retain Matthews, Marner, Tavares, and himself within the team.
Reports indicate that Nylander and his agent were less than enthusiastic about the idea of him being the sole player to accept a reduced salary for the quartet’s cohesion. With Matthews now earning the most in the league and Tavares making $11 million, with two more seasons at $10.93 million, there are questions about whether the team can afford to retain Nylander’s services, given these substantial contracts. A $10 million annual salary would likely strain their salary cap capacity, hence they desire to secure him for $8 million.
Nevertheless, Nylander expressed his lack of concern regarding his upcoming free agency status in an interview with Sportsnet. He conveyed his strong attachment to Toronto, stating that he loves the city and wants to remain a part of the team. He emphasized his focus on the present year and the future, firmly asserting his intention to stay with the Maple Leafs.