Auston Matthews is simply having a magical season by any and all metrics for an elite NHL forward, even reaching generational heights. We all knew he was special, scouts in his draft year were singing his praises, the American Development squad couldn’t say enough great things about Auston. But no one could have predicted the immediate impact he would have on the game and what heights he would have already reached by this point in his career.
For many players the hype doesn’t match production, in Auston’s case the hype clearly hasn’t done him any justice. To put what we are witnessing into simply raw numbers, this where his current season stacks up:
- 0.84 goals per game, most since Mario Lemieux, 0.86 goals per game in the 86/87 season (Ovi’s best 0.79 goals per game).
- 29 goals in 31 games against teams currently in playoffs (the next closest is Leon Draisaitl who has 22 goals in 35 games).
- Leads the NHL with 4 hat tricks on the season.
- He has 47 goals in his past 47 games and an astonishing 66% xGF% at 5V5 (so he is playing elite defense while chasing these down historic offensive milestones as well).
- 71 goals in his last 82 games.
- First in Maple Leafs’ history to have 4 separate goal streaks of 6 or more games.
To put this into more perspective, Auston Matthews is having the greatest goal-scoring season in the 21st century. He is on pace to surpass Steve Stamkos’ 60 goal and could even surpass Alex Ovechkin’s 65 goal season with a couple of lucky bounces here and there.
Here are Rick Vaive’s comments this morning after Auston’s hat trick saw Matthews tie his Maple Leafs franchise record:
These compliments from Vaive come off similar comments from current franchise leader in points and goals leader Mats Sundin who had this to say about Auston:
“He’s got a great chance to eclipse a lot of, if not most, of the prominent offensive franchise records in Toronto Maple Leafs History when all is said and done”
The fact that we are even discussing the possibility of him reaching 60+ goals this season is made all the more remarkable when he only had 7 at the almost the 17 game mark of the this season.
For a season where all the attention was on what the Maple Leafs and Auston could do in a tough & competitive Atlantic Division and with the playoff loses hanging over their collective heads, the season that Auston is having is giving even the most cynic fan amongst Leafs Nation renewed hope that finally the playoff ceiling will be shattered and a long playoff run is upon us. It is starting to feel good to be able to “BELEAF” again, doesn’t it?