Toronto Maple Leafs star, Auston Matthews was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week on Monday after posting five goals and three assists in three games.
The week that was began when Matthews recorded his first two goals of the season on opening night against the Montreal Canadiens, the Toronto Maple Leafs first goal of the year and the overtime winner on a feed from Patrick Marleau to seal the deal for the buds.
The superstar centre would then light the lamp against the Ottawa Senators in a losing effort, then again twice more in a battle with the Chicago Blackhawks.
He would eventually finish the first week with five goals and eight points, which currently leads the league in both category.
Of the terrific stats Matthews put up this week, his shooting percentage was something that caught my eye. Of the ten shots he took, five went in, good enough for a 50% shooting percentage. To put that into perspective, Matthews posted a shooting percentage of 14.3% in his rookie season and an 18.2% the year after. This just goes to show how much Matthews is tricking goaltenders with his improved shot, something he had focused on this past off-season. No, Matthews will not keep up his 2017/18 William Karlsson shooting percentage and yes, I know we are only three games into the season, but it may be something to keep an eye on.
Matthews is yet to prove himself among the top-three players in the league alongside Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid, but he is on the verge of doing so. If healthy all year, Matthews is poised to show he can be among the NHL’s top players, if not the top.
To rank Matthews ahead of McDavid, is not an easy thing, but when you look in terms of even strength goals, Matthews pulls ahead of him. Since Matthews entered the league in 2016, McDavid has played 164 games and has posted 61 even strength goals, with Matthews posting the exact same amount, but with 20 less games played.
Dominating at even strength has been Matthews forte in the past and now he has the opportunity this season to play on the top power play unit, something he has yet to do with Head Coach, Mike Babcock being reluctant to use him at such a spot. This will provide Matthews with more of an opportunity to stack more points this season, if that is all you care for when thinking in terms of top NHL players.
Matthews will look to breakout this season and show fans he has the ability to be a top-three player in the league beside Crosby and McDavid.
After a stellar rookie campaign, his sophomore year was plagued by injury missing 20 games, but still put up a whopping 34 goals and 63 points. If the star studded Matthews can stay healthy this season, “Player of the Week” for the first week of the season will be far behind his accomplishments by years end.
Statistics provided by, Hockey-Reference.com.