Auston Matthews wants to sign a new contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs

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Auston Matthews wants to stay.

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The Maple Leafs’ No. 1 center can get a new contract from the Leafs as early as July 1 — and he has a desire to make it happen.

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“My intention is to be here,” Matthews said Monday as the Leafs held exit briefings before heading into the summer. “I think I’ve expressed that before how much I enjoy playing here and what it means to me and the organization, my teammates and how much I just enjoy being here.”

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How important is it for the 25-year-old and the Leafs to secure a new contract before the start of the 2023-24 regular season?

“I think it’s important and that when the time comes it will work itself out and move on from there,” Matthews said. “As far as everything else goes, it’s a real honor (to play in Toronto). The work we are doing to continue to strive for this end result is extremely motivating.”

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Matthews has one year left on a five-year, $58.195 million contract in the United States, a deal with a $11.634 million cap and a contract that includes a no-move clause next season. He would become an unrestricted free agent after the next season if he didn’t re-sign.

Would Matthew’s interest in staying with the Leafs change if general manager Kyle Dubas doesn’t stay with the team? There are signs that Dubas himself will sign a contract extension.

“I understand the question, but it’s rather hypothetical: What if,” Matthews said. “I’m not really going to comment too much on that. I have a good relationship with Kyle and that’s really all I have to say.”

There has been speculation that Matthews played with an injury during the playoffs. He acknowledged this but did not go into details.

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“You get bumps and bruises and you deal with certain things like everyone else and that’s the nature of the game and especially in the playoffs,” Matthews said. “It was something I grappled with a little bit throughout the season and through the playoffs. Ultimately, it’s my job to enforce that and do what I can to help the team win.”

Matthews had 11 points in 11 playoff games as the Leafs were eliminated by the Florida Panthers in five games of the second round.

After winning the Hart Trophy last season, Matthews had 85 points (40 goals and 45 assists) in 74 regular-season games.

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