Maple Leafs' Auston Matthews gets four-year extension that makes him NHL's top-paid player

The NHL has a new highest-paid player.

That title goes to Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews, who signed a four-year, $53 million contract extension on Wednesday. When the deal kicks in during the 2024-25 season, its $13.25 million average annual value will lead the league.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon holds the current mark at $12.6 million. He had signed an eight-year contract in September 2022 that begins this season. Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, a three-time Hart Trophy winner as league MVP, is third at $12.5 million.

All three players are former No. 1 overall draft picks.

Matthews, who was drafted in 2016, has the most goals since he joined the league in 2016-17 with 299, two more than the Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin. He scored four goals his first NHL game and finished with 40 goals to win the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews has scored 40 or more goals five times in his career.
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews has scored 40 or more goals five times in his career.

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Matthews, who averages more than $11.6 million in his current deal, also led the league in goals twice, with a high of 60 in 2021-22, when he won the Hart Trophy.

"I feel fortunate to continue this journey as a Maple Leaf in front of the best fans in hockey! I will do everything I can to help get us to the top of the mountain," Matthews said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

The Maple Leafs got past the first round for the first time since 2004 last season but fell to the Florida Panthers in the second round.

Matthews' extension adds to a busy offseason for the Maple Leafs, who signed Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi and Ryan Reaves to ramp up their grittiness.

William Nylander is in the final year of his contract and is also eligible for an extension.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Auston Matthews' deal makes Maple Leafs star NHL's top-paid player