Maple Leafs sign No. 1 pick Auston Matthews to 3-year deal

TORONTO (AP) " The Toronto Maple Leafs signed No. 1 overall draft pick Auston Matthews to a three-year, entry-level contract Thursday with the maximum bonuses allowed.

Matthews had 24 goals and 22 assists in 36 games last season for the Zurich Lions in Switzerland and had nine points for the United States at the world hockey championship.

The 18-year-old from Scottsdale, Arizona, immediately became the face of the Maple Leafs' franchise when they selected him first in last month's draft. General manager Lou Lamoriello typically refuses to give bonuses to rookies, but agent Pat Brisson confirmed that Matthews' deal includes the maximum entry-level salary of $925,000 per year plus potential bonuses that could add up to an average annual value of $3,775,000.

"There were no issues at all getting it done with Lou and the Leafs," Brisson said. "Auston is thrilled."

Lamoriello agreed.

"The agreement took place within, I would say, 10 minutes of the first conversation Pat Brisson and I had when we talked about Auston's contract," he said. "Auston was No. 1 overall. The agreement that he has with the Toronto Maple Leafs and his contract, he's earned this.

He deserves what he is getting and there was never a question from us on this."

While Matthews has star quality, Lamoriello said the young forward will be part of the team.

"To be a Leaf is you have to give up your own identity at times to have success," he said.

At a recent camp, Matthews got a glimpse of the fan base eager for the Leafs to return to the NHL's elite.

"They packed the arena and fans waited outside after the game for all the prospects," he said. "It was pretty cool to kind of get a taste of how big this fan base is and how passionate they are. So it's pretty awesome."

Matthews says he will spend most of the summer at home in Arizona, preparing for the season and the World Cup of Hockey, where he will play for the North American under-23 team in September.

Also Thursday, the Leafs signed 23-year-old forward Josh Leivo to a two-year contract. The third-round pick in the 2011 draft had five goals in 12 games with Toronto last season but spent most of the year with the AHL Marlies, collecting 17 goals and 31 assists in 51 regular-season games.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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