As Auston Matthews approaches the end of his contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2024, a cloud of uncertainty hangs over his future with the team, prompting speculation about his potential departure next year. If he hits the open market, it begs the question: Could we see Matthews rock Sharks’ teal?
Let The Fun Begin
I’ll admit. This is crazy and probably not in the best interest of the Sharks at this point in time. But let’s have some fun…
Auston Matthews is a superstar known for his ability to score goals, and his exceptional skating, precise shot, and playmaking skills make him a dominant force on the ice. His acquisition could revitalize the Sharks’ offense and provide the team with a true game-changer, something they’ve been missing in recent years. However, the true likelihood of Matthews signing with the Sharks, or any other team for that matter, seems pretty low.
Would He Even Want to Leave Toronto?
One of the most important things to consider here with this crazy possibility is that come free agency, Matthews has the upper hand… choice. He gets to decide whether or not he even wants to leave Toronto, so that begs another question: Would he want to leave?
In Matthews’ entire career, he has only made it past the first round of the playoffs once. Then immediately eliminated in the second round… The Leafs’ struggle to find success, his desire to win a Cup, financial considerations, potential family motivations, and possible discord with management all factor into his decision. Matthews may want to seek a team with a better chance of securing a championship. Furthermore, the coaching situation, along with Matthews’ attachment to the team and city, will play a role in his choice to stay or explore new horizons. Until Matthews’ next move becomes clear, speculation will persist regarding his ongoing association with the Leafs.
Will He Find His Way to San Jose?
Honestly, Matthews would be the perfect complement to the young talent in San Jose, as well as to their remaining core of seasoned players. The Sharks are in a rebuild, and while they’re making strides, a player of Matthews’ caliber could significantly expedite their journey back to contender status.
However, there are challenges to consider. While Matthews would undoubtedly elevate the Sharks’ roster, some believe that he might not seamlessly fit the current team’s timeline. The Sharks are cultivating young prospects, and Matthews’ arrival might disrupt the planned development trajectory. On the other hand, his presence could potentially push these prospects to grow faster than anticipated, turning the team into contenders sooner than expected.
Play Like Weenie For Celebrini
San Jose would need several stars to align for this acquisition to happen. It’s a scenario that relies on multiple factors going their way, from winning the draft lottery and drafting Mack Celebrini to outstanding performances from emerging talents like Eklund, Smith, Musty, Thrun, Chrona, and more. While theoretically possible, it’s not the most probable outcome.
If Matthews becomes a free agent, there’s no doubt that many teams in the league will express interest in signing him. The Sharks, with their history of pursuing marquee players, should be among those considering making an offer.
The team’s need for high-cost elite talent is evident, and Matthews perfectly fits the bill. With his age aligning well with the Sharks’ future cap structure, a long-term contract could prove advantageous.
The Future Awaits
While the Sharks can and should extend an offer to Matthews, there are no certainties in the hockey world. Will he leave Toronto? Will San Jose make an offer? Will Matthews accept? These questions remain unanswered.
The possibility of this deal is still a year away, and though the Sharks may not be on the cusp of championship contention, improvements and flashes of brilliance from young players could create an enticing atmosphere.
While the potential of Auston Matthews joining the San Jose Sharks sparks excitement, there are numerous variables that will shape this narrative. The team’s pursuit of this star player could mark a return to their big-name hunting ways, but whether this pursuit culminates in success remains to be seen. The future holds the answers, and as fans await free agency, one thing is certain: the hockey world will be watching.
And who knows? Maybe Marleau and Thornton will be able to do some convincing to their former teammate…