Last week, former NHL executive Brian Burke joined Sportsnet 590 The FAN and expressed his confidence that Matthews will head south after his contract runs out, citing the tax differences between Canada and the Untied States.
"We haven't even started my first year (on the new contract) and then this?" Matthews said on Friday, according to NHL.com's Mike Zeisberger. "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 signed a five-year, $56.17-million pact with the Maple Leafs in February. He would have been a restricted free agent this offseason
The San Ramon, California native grew up in the Phoenix area, and in an interview with The Athletic's Craig Morgan, Matthews said he wants the Arizona Coyotes to be successful, prompting pundits and fans to ponder his long-term intentions.
"It's a little bit disappointing because it's so far away and there is other stuff that could be talked about rather than that," Matthews said. "Obviously you can talk about what you want to talk about. Obviously it creates controversy and will get you a lot of clicks. But it's not really something that bothers me or that I look at because I'm just looking at today and this season and doing the best I can."
Since Toronto drafted him first overall in 2016, Matthews has thrived while leading the Maple Leafs in goals (111) and points per game (0.97).
"I love playing in Toronto," he said. "It's unbelievable. It's the best city to play in in the NHL. Our fans are amazing. The history of the organization is incredible. The spotlight and all of that is something that kind of comes with it and it's something I've learned to embrace and kind of gone with."
The Maple Leafs host the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 2 to kick off their 2019-20 campaign.