The biggest “question mark” this off-season so far has been “When will Auston be signed to his contract?” I’ve refrained from writing about it so far because it’s stupid, and incredibly panicky and unwarranted. When has this management group as a whole ever tipped their hand about anything? “Oh they’re playing hardball, they’re going to piss him off!” Says who? Shanahan, Lamoriello and co. haven’t said a damn thing to anyone, we don’t know their motivations, and we don’t know what took so long. But lo and behold, he’s on contract!
A big part of the fan base is currently losing their minds over every little thing that could be perceived as anything less than a home run. Signing Polak “It’s a step back! He’ll take time from the rookies!” We aren’t sending out a lineup of 6 “25 and under” defencemen, especially without having veterans ready to step up and help, that’s stupid. Signing Martin, “Oh this plug is going to take time away from the kids, Lou is literally Nonis!” Management has been consistent with their views on having the kids sheltered and – as discussed in my article on this signing, said they’d be bringing in toughness to help protect the younger guys on the team.
The Media and Blogosphere hasn’t helped in this regard, some publications have discovered what The Sun has seen for ages: negativity drives views. The Mainstreamers get frustrated that they no longer have “sources” in the Leafs to know what they plan on doing, and publish hit pieces. The bloggers, many of whom consider advanced stats as the be all and end all of hockey conversation, are railing on their perceived “step back” to the Burke, Nonis and Randy days of hiring fighters to play 5 minutes a night and spend 20 in the box. It’s amazing how two groups of usually demonstrably intelligent people can be so fixated on making something out of literally nothing.
Anyways, Matthews is signed for max bonuses as per his agent, only the management know what they’re doing, and the Media, as well as the rest of us, have no damn clue what it is until it happens. Now onto almost 4 more weeks of speculation on Jimmy Vesey and how it’s somehow going to be Lou’s fault he won’t sign with us. Joy.