Rumor: Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman wanted to sign Auston Matthews
On a significant day for the Toronto Maple Leafs, they sealed the deal on a 4-year, $53 million contract extension with the dynamic NHL All-Star center, Auston Matthews. This move propelled Matthews to an elite tier, making him the NHL's highest-paid player regarding yearly value. But there's a back story: What if the Leafs had let Matthews go? Sources suggest that the Detroit Red Wings might have been on the prowl. Bob Duff of Detroit Hockey Now fueled this speculation, suggesting that Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman was prepped to go all out to secure Matthews for the Wings.
Here is what Duff wrote following the Matthews extension with the Maple Leafs:
“There were rumblings last summer – some of them from people familiar with the situation with the Detroit Red Wings organization – that GM Steve Yzerman was planning to go all-in in an attempt to sign Auston Matthews.”
Duff added that Matthews is friends with Red Wings C Dylan Larkin and that he was also growing fond of the state of Michigan. Duff also noted that the Red Wings would have the cap space to make a run at Matthews following the 2023-24 season.
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- Toronto Maple Leafs secured a 4-year deal with Auston Matthews, making him NHL's top earner.
- Rumors hinted at Detroit Red Wings' GM Steve Yzerman's intent to aggressively pursue Matthews.
- Matthews and Red Wings' Dylan Larkin have a shared past and camaraderie, fueling the speculations.
Bottom Line – The One that (Potentially) Got Away
In the case of Auston Matthews, the Leafs have managed to retain their star, but the whispers of what could have been with the Red Wings add a layer of intrigue to an already riveting saga. As fans, we're left to ponder the countless ‘what ifs' while relishing the drama that makes the NHL an endlessly fascinating spectacle. With that being said, do you think Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman would have gone “All-In” on Matthews, had he eventually become a free agent?