Rangers should break the bank on an Auston Matthews offer sheet
The “Unspoken Rule” among GMs is you don’t make offers to another team’s RFA. It almost never happens and when it does the GM making the offer becomes Enemy #1 among all other NHL executives. I know it’s December, but this is a seed that needs to be planted now.
The Rangers Need A Goal Machine
When you look around the league you see amazing offensive stars from grizzled vet, Alex Ovechkin to young stud, Patrick Laine. The Rangers desperately lack a player of that magnitude young or old and there’s no one in the system that fits the bill either.
So the thought amongst fans and analysts is that the Rangers should address that via a trade or UFA signing this summer. Here’s the problem, aside from Artemi Panarin there’s no such player available. And to be honest, even if Panarin is moved or makes it to free agency, I don’t think he’s the answer.
Since his name was mentioned as a possible Rangers target, I started watching as many Blue Jackets games as possible. Here’s the deal, Panarin is offensively gifted and has a good shot but he is more of a playmaker than a sniper. I can also add that he plays with the puck too much and often turns it over at the most inopportune times. If that isn’t a deterrent enough, he’s not very good in his own zone.
Auston Matthews is the best goal scorer in the league already!
Let me say this off the bat, Connor McDavid is the best player in the game right now and will be for the next decade. However, the best goal scorer in the game today is Auston Matthews and there’s no doubt in my mind about it.
I have watched a ton of Leafs games this season and have seen almost every one of Matthews 15 goals. What makes him a sniper is his ability to turn almost any shot into a dangerous scoring chance. Matthews can snap it off the pass, on the fly, and be deadly accurate from almost any odd angle. He is simply put the best goal scorer in the game today and the foreseeable future.
To Hell with the Code, Offer Sheet Matthews
The Leafs have just paid William Nylander $6.9M a year for 6 years. Toronto also gave John Tavares a king’s ransom that hits them with an $11M cap hit until 2025. While these are great signings, Kyle Dubas still has to come up with the coin to sign other RFA’s like Mitch Marner, Kasperi Kapanen, and the aforementioned, Auston Matthews.
If Auston Matthews gets to July 1st as an unsigned RFA, then Jeff Gorton should bite the bullet, become the villain, and give Madison Square Garden the superstar its deserved for decades. Of course, even making the offer doesn’t guarantee the Rangers will get him because Toronto has 7 days to match the offer. That is why Jeff Gorton has to be willing to break the bank and make Matthews the highest paid player in the league.
We are talking $12 to $14 million a year for the next 7 years. That would cost the Rangers no less than 4 first round draft picks if the Leafs decide to let him go. The bottom line is that amount of money would handcuff the Leafs so bad that they would have to probably let Mitch Marner and others go.
Can it happen?
Back in August, Matthews told NHL.com the following:
“I don’t know if I’ll sign a new contract before the season or not,” Matthews told NHL.com’s Dave Hogg Sunday. “I’m not really involved with the talks. That’s something being dealt with by my agents and team management.– Sportsnet
“They’ve told me that it will get done when it gets done, and that’s fine.”
Well, there’s no contract signed and Matthews just watched Nylander push the Leafs all the way to the deadline for a big pay day. Now, Nylander is good but he’s not on Matthews level and some GMs speaking off the record didn’t think Nylander was worth what he got either.
The truth is, Matthews and his agent know that the 21 year old with 89 goals and 156 points in 159 games could be in for a record payday. They also know that if he gets to July 1st that one GM could break that rule and sign him to the biggest offer sheet in NHL history.
That GM needs to be Jeff Gorton.