Auston Matthews has reportedly signed a four-year extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs that will give him the highest average annual value in the NHL at $13.25 million per season, according to Chris Johnston of SportsNet.

When the deal was finished, Auston Matthews himself beat the reporters to announcing the deal on social media.

“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. GLG! #LeafsForever” Matthews wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Shortly after Matthews' tweet, the details came out, via Johnston and others.

Matthews' extension with the Maple Leafs will kick in at the start of the 2024-25 NHL season. Barring another player topping his deal, he will be the highest-paid player in hockey.

An interesting wrinkle to all of this is that Matthews reportedly was not willing to go beyond four years, while the Maple Leafs pushed for a longer deal, according to Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff.

Matthews' strategy of not going beyond four years could be something new for the NHL. The Maple Leafs understandably want to lock in Matthews for eight years, which is usually what happens with franchise players. Matthews is still 25, so by the time his extension is up, he will be able to get a large deal again, whether that be with the Maple Leafs or another team.

By that time, the salary cap will have gone up, and Matthews will likely sign for an even higher average annual value.

For now, the Maple Leafs will look to get over the hump and win a Stanley Cup before needing to worry about extending Auston Matthews again. They have some interesting dilemmas with players like William Nylander and Mitch Marner, but the core is intact this season.

It will be interesting to see if Matthews can bring the Stanley Cup to Toronto with the help of Nylander, Marner and others this season.