NHL Rumors: Johnston on Auston Matthews and how much change could be coming

SDPN: Chris Johnston on if Auston Matthews will be a Toronto Maple Leaf next year, and how much change could be coming.

(The podcast was recorded before the news that Kyle Dubas wouldn’t be back next season.)

** NHLRumors.com transcription

Johnston: “I still believe that Auston Matthews wants to be a Leaf. This isn’t about him wanting out. It’s more that the organization is at this giant crossroads and they have to decide what they want, right?

You know, Auston Matthews, I believe, wants to stay. Wants to sign that extension on or about July 1st. Like, I don’t think he wants this dragging on. He doesn’t need any more speculation.

But he also wants to believe the team can win the Stanley Cup. I think that’s most important to him. And so the Leafs need to put a plan in front of them too. I mean, this is it. It’s a little wild we’re sitting here on May 16th and so much feels up in the air.

Like literally, what could be more up in the air than like potentially moving franchise superstars, potentially having a GM walk away (podcast before the Leafs and Dubas parted ways on Friday), potentially having to change a head coach and having to do it all in a six to seven week window at the busiest time on the hockey calendar for transactions?

I mean, it’s, it’s hard to put your mind around it all.

Julien McKenzie: There’s a reality where those three things I mentioned, the head coach, the GM and that core four – there’s a change at all three levels.

I know I kind of said, “Hey, maybe there’s reality where everything stays!” And you said, ‘no,’ great soundbite, but also there’s a reality all of that changes. Well – it’s ridiculous.

Johnston: “The higher up the chain of command it changes, the more likely there’s change below right?

Like, If you just get a brand new GM who’s a fresh set of eyes, well it’s more likely he’s changing the head coach and trading one or two of those players. Like that, I think that, it’s like you blow up a little higher up the chain, the explosions go downwards in this case.

So, you know, I think the quote I gave – unfortunately, you always say something to get you radioed. but I said on TSN 1050 yesterday that I expect one bomb, possibly more than one bomb, and I still stand by that. I mean that there’s one major change, if not two or more coming.”