Auston Matthews said speculation he will leave the Toronto Maple Leafs when his contract runs out in five years is "a little bit disappointing."
Former NHL executive Brian Burke last week told Sportsnet 590 The FAN he would "bet a sizeable amount of money" that Matthews will head for an American market when his contract expires because of the tax differences between Canada and the United States.
Matthews said he was caught off guard by the comments and the reaction they drew from media and fans.
"We haven't even started my first year (on the new contract) and then this?" the 21-year-old center said at the NHL Players Media Tour on Friday. "I think it's just August, there was nothing going on, why not just spark up a controversy. How better to do that than to talk about the Toronto Maple Leafs."
Matthews, who could have been a restricted free agent this offseason, on Feb. 5 signed a five-year contract with an average annual value of $11.634 million. It runs through the 2023-24 NHL season.