NHL, NHLPA working on ‘international competition’ for February 2025, Matthews signs in Toronto, and more: Around the League

Photo credit:NHL.com
David Quadrelli
9 months ago
Welcome back to Around the League — the column here at CanucksArmy where we examine news and notes from around the National Hockey League, oftentimes through a Vancouver Canucks-tinted lens. 
It’s officially almost September, which means the NHL news cycle is beginning to heat up again.
Yesterday, we had the Elias Pettersson quote heard around the world, and because of that, Canucks fans may have missed a couple other headlines from around the league. But feat not, because we’re here to inform!
Matthews gets four years in Toronto
Like every other Canadian media company that covers hockey, we know the first thing you wanted to hear about was the Toronto Maple Leafs.
All kidding aside, the Leafs locked up Auston Matthews on a four-year contract extension on Tuesday. The 2016 first-overall pick agreed to a four-year extension with an annual average value of $13.25 million. When the deal kicks in, he will have the highest annual salary among all active players, comfortably beating out the current title holder Nathan MacKinnon, who will make $12.6 million annually, starting this season.
Matthews is coming off another productive season despite missing time due to an injury that made it harder for him to match his 60-goal output from the prior campaign. He recorded 85 points (40 goals and 45 assists) in 74 games played while registering 11 points (five goals and six assists) in 11 playoff games for the Leafs this past season.
Nonetheless, like the MacKinnon extension, Matthews’ new contract illustrates what it’s going to cost to lock up young elite centres, something obviously of interest for Canucks fans with Elias Pettersson up for a new contract next summer.
NHL, NHLPA working to create international competition for February 2025
According to NHL.com’s Dan Rosen, the NHL and NHL Players’ Association are working to create some way to see a best-on-best international tournament come to fruition.
“The NHL is working with the NHL Players’ Association to create an international competition to be held in February 2025 with the intention of beginning a regular rotation of Olympic participation and a World Cup of Hockey in the even years to follow, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said at the European Player Media Tour on Wednesday,” wrote Rosen.
Some other notes from Rosen’s article are that Daly’s goals are to have an international tournament every two years with the 2026 and 2030 Olympics being the goal to round out a World Cup of Hockey alternating two years between the Olympics.
There’s not currently a deadline for making a decision about international play but according to Daly, the IIHF, IOC, NHLPA and NHL are striving to do it as quickly as possible.
Oilers and Bouchard agree on two-year deal
Yesterday, the Edmonton Oilers and defenceman Evan Bouchard agreed to terms on a two-year deal with an annual average value of $3.9 million.
Bouchard, 23, has taken steps toward becoming the top four defenceman the Oilers hoped he could be when they selected him with the 10th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Bouchard played in a top four role this past season, and following the departure of Tyson Barrie in the Mattias Ekholm deal, Bouchard quarterbacked the Oilers’ first power play unit without skipping a beat.
Bouchard will again become a restricted free agent when this two-year bridge contract expires in the summer of 2025. At that point, the Oilers will have two more years left of team control over Bouchard before he’s eligible to hit unrestricted free agency.

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