The Toronto Maple Leafs and superstar center Auston Matthews agreed on a four-year, $53 million contract extension on Wednesday, making him the NHL’s highest-paid player.

Matthews has one year remaining on the five-year, $58.2 million pact he signed in February 2019, and he could have become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

With an average annual value of $13.25 million, Matthews will become the NHL’s highest-paid player beginning in 2024-25, surpassing Colorado star Nathan MacKinnon’s $12.6 million annual average value.

The 25-year-old Matthews has been one of the game’s elite players since he was selected with the first overall pick in the 2016 draft.

He led the league in goals twice (2020-21 and 2021-22) and has totaled 299 goals and 542 points in 481 regular season games.

Matthews’ best season came in 2021-22, when he set career highs with 60 goals and 106 points in 73 games, earning him the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP.

He dipped to 40 goals last season but still tallied 85 points in 74 games.

The native of Scottsdale, Arizona leads all players in goals since the start of the 2016-17 season and ranks 11th in points during that span.

The Maple Leafs have reached the playoffs in every full season since Matthews entered the league but have advanced past the first round only once – defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in a six-game series last spring.

Longtime Boston Bruins center David Krejci announced his retirement on Monday in a statement released by the team.

“After 15 full NHL seasons I have decided to retire from the best league in the world,” the 37-year-old Czech Republic native said.

“When I was drafted in 2004, I had no idea that I would be working with such incredible and driven people who would lead us to 3 Stanley Cup Finals, and winning the ultimate goal in 2011.”

Krejci made his NHL debut in January 2007 and spent his entire NHL career with the Bruins.

He returned to Boston last season after playing for Czech club HC Olomouc in 2021-22.

In the history of the Bruins franchise, Krejci ranks fifth in games played (1,032), 13th in goals (231), fifth in assists (555) and ninth in points (786).

“David, for 16 seasons you displayed an unmatched combination of creativity, poise, and wit – with an uncanny knack for coming up clutch – while remaining humble and determined through all your success,” the Bruins said in a statement.

“You are a special player, person, and teammate who has made a lasting impact on our organization and our city.

“For all you’ve done for the Boston Bruins, THANK YOU.”

Boston will head into the 2023-24 campaign without its top two centers from a season ago after captain Patrice Bergeron also retired last month.

The Pittsburgh Penguins bolstered their blue line on Sunday by acquiring three-time Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson from the San Jose Sharks in a trade that also involved the Montreal Canadiens.

The 33-year-old Karlsson heads to Pittsburgh along with forward Rem Pitlick, forward Dillon Hamaliuk and San Jose's 2026 third-round draft pick.

The Sharks acquired forward Mikael Granlund, defenseman Jan Rutta, forward Mike Hoffman and Pittsburgh's 2024 first-round draft pick (top-10 protected).

Montreal landed defenseman Jeff Petry, goaltender Casey DeSmith, forward Nathan Legare and Pittsburgh's 2025 second-round draft pick.

Karlsson was the 15th overall pick in 2008 by Ottawa and spent his first nine seasons with the Senators after making his NHL debut in 2009-10.

He won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman in 2011-12 and 2014-15.

The Senators traded Karlsson to San Jose prior to the 2018-19 campaign, and the seven-time All-Star had a career season in 2022-23.

Karlsson set personal bests with 25 goals and 76 assists to become the first NHL defenseman to record 100 points since Brian Leetch accomplished the feat for the New York Rangers in 1991-92.

In 920 career games, Karlsson has recorded 178 goals and 583 assists. His 761 points rank 21st in the history of the NHL among defensemen.

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel will miss the start of the 2023-24 NHL season after undergoing right ankle surgery earlier this week.

The Penguins announced Friday that Guentzel underwent a successful procedure at Twin Cities Orthopedics in Minnesota on Wednesday. The two-time All-Star is scheduled to be re-evaluated in 12 weeks, which would leave him sidelined into at least late October.

Pittsburgh opens its season Oct. 10 against the Chicago Blackhawks. 

Guentzel hurt his ankle at some point this offseason and the injury progressively worsened during recent training sessions, according to Penguins president of hockey operations and general manager Kyle Dubas.

"As Jake continued to increase the intensity of his preparation for the upcoming season, it was apparent that his ankle injury was not resolving in a way that was satisfactory to he or the Penguins," Dubas said in a team statement. "In collaboration with Jake - his representative Ben Hankinson of Octagon Sports, the Penguins medical team led by Dr. Dharmesh Vyas of UPMC Sports Medicine, and Dr. (Chris) Coetzee - it was decided that surgery would be the best way to ensure Jake would be at his best in 2023-2024."

Guentzel has led the Penguins in goals in each of the last two seasons and tied a career high with 40 in 2021-22, a campaign in which he finished with a personal-best 84 points.

The 28-year-old enjoyed another productive season in 2022-23 with 36 goals and 37 assists in 78 games. His 11 power-play goals last season were a career high and tied for the team lead.

Guentzel has spent his entire seven-year career with the Penguins and has compiled 197 goals and 217 assists in 453 regular-season games. The Minnesota native led Pittsburgh with 13 postseason goals as a rookie in 2016-17 to help the team to its most recent Stanley Cup championship.

Guentzel is also one of seven players in franchise history with six consecutive seasons of 20 or more goals, a list that includes franchise legends Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. 

Sebastian Aho has received quite the gift on his 26th birthday.

The Carolina Hurricanes announced Wednesday they have signed their standout center to an eight-year, $78 million extension that will keep him under contract through the 2031-32 season.

Aho was entering the final season of a five-year, $42.3 million contract signed in 2019, when the Hurricanes matched an offer sheet the Montreal Canadiens gave the then-restricted free agent.

That has proven to be a shrewd move for Carolina, as Aho's 135 goals over the last four seasons rank eighth among NHL players and he's one of only nine players to score 30 or more goals in four of the last five seasons.

Aho has been a core member of a Hurricanes team that reached the Eastern Conference finals in 2022-23 and has won at least one playoff series in five consecutive seasons.

"Sebastian has developed into one of the best two-way centers in hockey," Hurricanes president and general manager Don Waddell said in a statement. "He's a tremendous leader on and off the ice who sets a great example for our younger players. We're grateful that he's decided to stay in Carolina for the foreseeable future."

Aho has spent his entire seven-year NHL career with Carolina after being taken by the Hurricanes in the second round of the 2015 draft. The two-time All-Star's 218 goals and 468 points both rank fifth in franchise history.

The native Finn owns club postseason records for career goals (23), assists (35) and points (58), while his 16 career shorthanded goals are tied for the most in franchise history.

Aho is coming off another outstanding campaign in which he compiled 36 goals and 31 assists in 75 regular-season games before contributing five goals and seven assists in 15 games during Carolina's playoff run. 

Longtime Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron is retiring from the NHL after a Hall of Fame career.

A day after turning 38 years old, Bergeron announced he was retiring on Tuesday after 19 seasons in the NHL - all with the Bruins.

In a letter posted to the Bruins' official website, the team's captain wrote that he steps away with no regrets.

"For the last 20 years I have been able to live my dream every day," Bergeron said. "I have had the honour of playing in front of the best fans in the world wearing the Bruins uniform and representing my country at the highest levels of international play. I have given the game everything that I have physically and emotionally, and the game has given me back more than I could have ever imagined.

"It is with a full heart and a lot of gratitude that today I am announcing my retirement as a professional hockey player."

The 38-year-old Bergeron was still playing at a high level last season, registering 27 goals and 31 assists in 78 games to win the Selke Trophy for a record sixth time as the league's best two-way forward.

Bergeron helped the Bruins win the 2011 Stanley Cup and led them to the Cup Final on two other occasions.

Selected by Boston in the second round of the 2003 draft, Bergeron ends his career with 427 goals and 613 assists in 1,294 games.

He ranks third in Bruins franchise history in goals scored, fourth in assists and third in games played.

"As I step away today, I have no regrets," he said. "I have only gratitude that I lived my dream, and excitement for what is next for my family and I. I left everything out there and I'm humbled and honored it was representing this incredible city and for the Boston Bruins fans."


To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the Chicago Blackhawks selected 17-year-old Connor Bedard with the first pick of Wednesday's NHL Draft.

Bedard has been turning heads since he was 11 years old and has been labeled a generational talent, drawing comparisons to Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid, who was picked first overall in 2015.

It was basically a foregone conclusion that the Blackhawks would take Bedard with the top pick after they were the winner of the NHL’s draft lottery on May 8.

Bedard becomes the second player selected first overall by the Blackhawks, joining Patrick Kane in 2007. Kane helped lead the team to three Stanley Cups in 16 seasons before he was traded to the New York Rangers in February.

Bedard was the first person granted exceptional status to play in the Western Hockey League at age 15 and concluded his WHL career with an eye-popping 271 points in 134 games. His career points per game ranks 10th in league history and is the highest in the league since the early 1980s.

A certified sniper who already owns one of the best releases at 17, Bedard also is an outstanding skater with a deceptive and unpredictable style of play.

His 71 goals in 57 games last year were the most by a WHL player in 24 years, and his 143 points were the most since 1995-96. 

Bedard swept the Canadian Hockey League awards, becoming the first voted player of the year, top prospect and top scorer.

He further cemented his status as the best player available in this draft with a dominant showing for gold medal-winning Canada in the 2023 World Juniors.

Playing against players up to three years older than him on an international stage, Bedard set the Canadian record for most points at a single tournament (23) and most assists at one tournament (14) in seven games on his way to winning MVP honours.



The New Jersey Devils and star forward Timo Meier have agreed to an eight-year, $70.4 million extension through the 2030-31 season, the team announced hours before Wednesday's NHL draft.

Acquired from the San Jose Sharks in February, Meier was a restricted free agent who scored a career-high 40 goals this past season. The 26-year-old was an All-Star for the Sharks in 2021-22 and finished that season with 35 goals and a career-high 76 points in 77 games.

"We were excited to acquire Timo at the (trade) deadline, but it's an even greater feeling knowing that he'll be here for the next eight seasons," Devils executive vice president/general manager Tom Fitzgerald said in a statement. "Timo's unique blend of style of play, goal-scoring ability, and physical presence will prove valuable for us."

Meier is the second key player the Devils have locked up on a long contract this offseason. The team previously signed forward Jesper Bratt to an eight-year, $63 million deal earlier this month.

"In talking with him, Timo realised, and I always believed, that this is the right place for him as a player and a person," Fitzgerald said. "We've locked up another piece of our young core that is looking to take that next step together for greater success."

New Jersey also acquired 34-goal scorer Tyler Toffoli from the Calgary Flames on Tuesday to add another proven forward to one of the NHL's up-and-coming teams. After missing the playoffs for four consecutive seasons, the Devils won a franchise-record 52 games in 2022-23 and reached the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The ninth overall pick of the 2015 draft, Meier has recorded 163 goals and 167 assists in 472 career regular-season games and has reached the 30-goal mark in three of his seven NHL seasons. The Swiss native posted nine goals and five assists in 21 regular-season games for New Jersey following the trade, though he managed only two goals in 11 playoff games.


The high-scoring New Jersey Devils have added another piece to help light the lamp in 2023-24.

The Calgary Flames have traded winger Tyler Toffoli to the Devils for forward Yegor Sharangovich and a third-round pick in Wednesday’s draft.

The deal was announced about a week after media reports surfaced that Toffoli, who is entering the final year of his contract, would not re-sign with Calgary.

Toffoli just completed the best season of his career and was the Flames’ leading scorer with 73 points (34 goals, 39 assists).

At 31-years-old, Toffoli joins a young core of Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt that made New Jersey a top-five scoring offense last season.

Toffoli has 466 career points (227 goals, 239 assists) in 733 games with the Flames, Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings.

Earlier Tuesday, the Devils traded backup goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood to the San Jose Sharks for a sixth-round pick.

The Flames add Sharangovich, a 25-year-old forward, and the No. 80 overall selection in this year’s draft.

A Belarus native, Sharangovich was drafted in the fifth round in 2018 and features a two-way game. After a 46-point season in 2021-22, his offensive production dipped to 30 points last season, but he contributed heavily on the Devils’ penalty kill units.

The Winnipeg Jets traded Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Los Angeles Kings after signing the 25-year-old forward to an eight-year contract extension worth $68 million on Tuesday.

The deal includes Los Angeles sending fellow forwards Gabriel Vilardi, Alex Iafallo, Rasmus Kupari and a second-round draft pick in 2024 to Winnipeg.

Dubois set personal bests with 36 assists and 63 points in 2022-23, while his 27 goals equalled the second-most of his career.

Drafted third overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2016, Dubois has recorded 302 points (129 goals, 173 assists) in six NHL seasons.

"Pierre-Luc Dubois is an elite two-way center with a unique skillset, and we're excited to have him join the organisation and commit to us long-term," Kings general manager and executive vice president Rob Blake said.

"Over the last few seasons, he has proven the ability to contribute to all facets of the game and we are thrilled to be able to add a player of this caliber into our lineup."

Vilardi, 23, had career highs of 23 goals, 18 assists and 63 games played last season.

Iafallo, 29, recorded 36 points in 2022-23 (14 goals, 22 assists), while the 23-year-old Kupari collected 15 points in 66 games.

"On behalf of the entire LA Kings organisation, we would like to thank Alex, Rasmus and Gabriel for their immense contributions both on and off the ice," Kings president Luc Robitaille said.

"Their efforts over the last few seasons on the ice, as well as with fans and throughout the community, have made a substantial mark on our franchise and we wish them all continued success in their future."

The St. Louis Blues acquired All-Star forward Kevin Hayes from the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, Blues president of hockey operations and general manager Doug Armstrong announced.

Hayes, 31, spent the last four seasons with Philadelphia and was an All-Star for the first time in 2022-23.

He tied a personal best with 36 assists and added 18 goals for 54 points, the second-most of his career.

Drafted 24th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, Hayes has recorded 386 points (155 goals, 231 assists) in nine NHL seasons with the New York Rangers, Winnipeg Jets and Philadelphia.

St. Louis went 37-38-7 last season to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2017-18.

The Flyers (31-38-13) finished 14th in the 16-team Eastern Conference and have been to the postseason once since 2018-19.

This year’s NHL Awards very well could have been called the Connor McDavid Show.

The Edmonton Oilers’ captain was announced as the runaway winner of the 2022-23 Hart Memorial Trophy, the NHL’s most valuable player award, after receiving 195 of 196 first-place votes.

The Boston Bruins’ David Pastrnak received the other first-place vote and finished second. Matthew Tkachuk of the Florida Panthers was voted third.

McDavid also won the Ted Lindsay Award, given to the most outstanding player as voted by his peers, and had already secured the Maurice Richard Trophy with his league-leading 64 goals and the Art Ross Trophy for his NHL-best 153 points.

McDavid received his honours at the annual NHL Awards ceremony Monday in Nashville, Tenn.

At just 26 years old, McDavid enters rarefied air by winning his third career Hart Trophy after being voted MVP in 2016-17 and 2020-21.

Only Wayne Gretzky (nine), Gordie Howe (six) and Eddie Shore have won the Hart Trophy more than three times. The last player to win his third MVP was Alex Ovechkin in 2012-13.

McDavid’s 153 points last season were the most by a player since Mario Lemieux’s 161-point campaign in 1995-96.

Playing in all 82 games, McDavid paced Edmonton to a 50-win season and fourth straight playoff appearance with his staggering offensive numbers.

McDavid’s scoring last season included 21 power-play goals and 50 power-play assists, as well as four goals while shorthanded. The six-time All-Star was held without a point in just seven games and had 10 games in which he had four or more points.

Erik Karlsson of the San Jose Sharks won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenceman after becoming the sixth blue-liner NHL history to have over 100 points in a season.

Karlsson’s 25 goals and 76 assists last season earned him his third Norris Trophy, previously winning in 2011-12 and 2014-15 as a member of the Ottawa Senators.

After a record-setting, 65-win season, the Bruins were well-represented Monday. Linus Ullmark claimed the Vezina Trophy as the season’s top goaltender, beating out Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets and the New York Islanders’ Ilya Sorokin.

Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron was honoured as the top defensive forward in hockey with the Selke Trophy, winning for the second year in a row and a record sixth time in his career.

The Seattle Kraken’s Matty Beniers took home the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie. The second overall pick in the 2022 draft, Beniers led all rookies with 57 points (24 goals, 33 assists) while helping Seattle make its first playoff appearance.

The Chicago Blackhawks are adding a former No. 1 overall pick two days before this year’s draft.

The Blackhawks are acquiring winger Taylor Hall and the rights to Nick Foligno from the Boston Bruins for defenceman prospects Alec Regula and Ian Mitchell.

The teams announced the trade Monday.

The Bruins, coming off a historic 65-win season, were in a precarious salary cap situation this offseason and were able to unload Hall’s $6million cap hit, plus get a return for the rights to Foligno, an unrestricted free agent.

The Blackhawks will try to sign Foligno, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger, as the rebuilding team adds experienced forwards to play alongside likely No. 1 pick Connor Bedard. The 2023 NHL Draft begins on Wednesday.

Hall, the top pick in the 2010 draft, won the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player in 2017-18 but joins his sixth NHL team. Hall was a crucial trade-deadline acquisition by the Bruins in 2021 and had a strong 2021-22 season before seeing his numbers dip last season.

Hall, 31, had 16 goals and 20 assists in 61 games last season. He has 693 career points (264 goals, 429 assists) in 822 games.

Foligno, 35, tallied 10 goals and 16 assists in 60 games last season while carrying a cap hit of $3.8million.

The Bruins, meanwhile, add some much-needed youth along the blue line in Mitchell, 24, and 22-year-old Regula.

Mitchell was a second-round pick by the Blackhawks in 2017 and has tallied four goals and 12 assists in 82 career NHL games.

Regula, a third-round pick in 2018, has played just 22 NHL games but totalled five goals and 16 assists last season with the Blackhawks’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs.

This offseason could be a busy one for the Bruins after a record-breaking season ended with a first-round playoff exit.

Defenceman Dmitry Orlov and forward Tyler Bertuzzi are unrestricted free agents this offseason, while the future remains uncertain for captain Patrice Bergeron, who will turn 38 in July.

Jordan Staal will remain the captain of the Carolina Hurricanes for the foreseeable future.

The 34-year-old centerman and the Hurricanes agreed to a new four-year contract worth $11.6million, the team announced Sunday. If no deal had been reached, Staal would have become a free agent in less than a week.

Staal’s deal includes a full no-movement clause for the first three seasons.

“I’m ready to grind. I’m ready to play,” Staal told reporters during a conference call. "I feel really good about my game and feel like I can help the team for the rest of this contract. I’m going to do my best to my abilities.

“I’m excited about the deal and where this team is headed, the direction, and I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

Staal is entering his 18th NHL season and has been with the Hurricanes since 2012. He has worn the “C” on his chest since 2019.

“[Staal’s] leadership has been an integral part of our success, and the impact he has made on our organization cannot be overstated,” general manager Don Waddell said in a statement. "We could not be more excited to sign him for four more years.”

The Hurricanes won the Metropolitan Division last season with a record of 52-21-9. The franchise has secured a playoff spot in each of the last five seasons and is hoping Staal can help lead Carolina back to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 2006.

Staal had 17 goals and 17 assists in 81 games last season and remains among the top defensive forwards in the NHL. In 2022-23, he averaged 2:21 of short-handed ice time per game, while winning 55.7 percent of his faceoffs.

Staal has 275 goals and 370 assists in 1,173 career games.

The New Jersey Devils and forward Jesper Bratt agreed to terms on an eight-year contract worth $63 million on Thursday.

The 24-year-old Swede was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

"It was always a priority to keep Jesper Bratt here long term and both parties are thrilled that a deal was completed," Devils executive vice president and general manager Tom Fitzgerald said. "I value and commend the commitment Jesper made to this organization.

“We believe that he is a special player and a key member of our core group of talent who will contribute towards the team's long-term success, and organizational goal of bringing the Stanley Cup back to New Jersey."

The Devils selected Bratt in the sixth round (162nd overall) of the 2016 draft, and he made his NHL debut in 2017-18.

Bratt’s last two seasons were his best in the NHL with a career-high 73 points in each campaign. He set a personal best with 32 goals in 2022-23 to rank second on New Jersey.

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