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How close was Matthews to signing with the KHL?

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My investigation turned up some surprising facts!

Was Alex Nylander a secret KHL agent? PROBABLY!
Was Alex Nylander a secret KHL agent? PROBABLY!
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Auston Matthews has signed his NHL Entry Level Contract (ELC) with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Our long civic nightmare is finally over. The contract is for the maximum possible salary, with provisions for all available bonus options listed in the CBA at the maximum possible dollar value.

In the July heat some hockey writers appeared to have lost perspective, or are suffering from heat stroke, and wrote ridiculous, panicked reactions to the fact that over 20 days had passed without Matthews signing a contract.

To put things in perspective, Mitch Marner signed his ELC seven days later than Matthews, on July 28th. What about William Nylander? He signed mid-August. Of course you could point out there were various circumstances which meant neither of those players would immediately join the Maple Leafs, as is expected of Matthews.

On the other hand, you could point out that even the Maple Leafs' rookie tournament doesn't start for another two months, and Matthews probably won't be there anyway because he's joining Team Acne North America for the World Cup of Hockey, so there is no rush to complete some paper work that is mostly a formality.

But what if it wasn't only a formality?

What is there was something more... sinister happening?

One insider has floated a controversial theory about why Matthews was not singing his ELC. The obscure blogger known as "Kevin McGran" posited that the KHL was lurking in the shadows, presumably of Toronto's office towers, ready to pounce with promises of fame, scantily clad women, and dump trucks full of gold-pressed latinum. It would be a stunning and unexpected victory for the KHL in the ongoing international hockey league cold-wars.

Naturally, many veterans of hockey reporting scoffed that such a wild outcome could be possible.

Our own Fulemin was quoted saying "Matthews signing up with the KHL? Those vodka swilling, notnormullman fans? NEVER!"

Well I am here to tell you that...

McGRAN WAS RIGHT!

Most laughed off the prospect of Auston Matthews turning down the chance at winning a Stanley Cup, his life-long dream, to instead play in a foreign league. However unnamed sources have confirmed to me that several KHL teams made pitches to Matthews. They all conducted extensive research on Matthews' personal likes and preferences, however it all fell apart because of some cultural misunderstandings and poor execution.

Metallurg Magnitogorsk

This team did their research, learning that Matthews' favourite home cooked meal is his mother's Tortilla Soup. Unfortunately, they couldn't replicate the dish with the ingredients available in Magnitogorsk. Instead they served him "Russian Tortilla Soup", which is a broth of vodka and beet juice, served with saltine crackers.

He was not impressed.

So they tried instead to prepare some simpler Mexican dishes. Unfortunately Matthews had hired someone to test out their recipes and they didn't fare so well.

Jokerit Helsinki

Learning from the culinary missteps of Magnitogorsk, the Finns instead offered Matthews a sample of gourmet Finnish cuisine, which they promised would be available to him any time in whatever quantities he wanted.


Dinamo Minsk

The most esoteric pitch was from Dinamo Minsk who hired Worf to follow Auston Matthews around and say "Minsk" all day long.

The attempt at subliminal messaging appears not to have worked.

So, there you have it.

The KHL failed to steal our shiny new number one draft pick, despite a valiant attempt. The lesson to be learned is we must always be vigilant for KHL agents lurking in the shadows in Toronto!