Auston Matthews Season Could Have Been Best In Toronto Maple Leafs History

Toronto Maple Leafs - Auston Matthews (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs - Auston Matthews (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leafs – Auston Matthews (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Auston Matthews was having a career season for the Toronto Maple Leafs before everything stopped.

There have been over 100 Toronto Maple Leafs seasons and the current stoppage may prevent Matthews from achieving one of the greatest individual performances in team history.

TSN recently released their All-Time Toronto Maple Leafs roster and although the exercise was severely criticized, Matthews being chosen as the current player to represent was not.

He’s only played four NHL seasons, but is well on his way to a Hall-of-Fame career. Averaging a career 1.01 points per game, Matthews has 285 points and 158 goals in only 282 games.

The craziest part of Matthews’ stat totals are that he’s doing most of his damage 5-on-5. 77 percent of Matthews’ goals have happened even strength, so it’s remarkable that he’s able to average 40 goals per season at that pace.

In comparison to Alex Ovechkin, who is the greatest goal scorer of this generation, 63 percent or 446 of his 706 career goals have came even-strength.

That’s 14 percent lower than Matthews, which is insane.  Scoring goals 5v5 is harder and more important than scoring on the power-play.

You may think that it’s crazy to compare Matthews to Ovechkin already, but he’s having such a spectacular season that it’s actually very possible to do so.

For example, let’s look at Ovechkin’s greatest goal scoring season in the NHL and compare it Matthews’ adjusted 82-game season.

Auston Matthews 2019-20 Season (Adjusted):

  • 56 Goals (41 Even Strength and 15 Power-Play)
  • 20:58 Average Time On-Ice
  • 340 shots, 16.2 shooting percentage

If Matthews shoots the puck as many times as Ovechkin, his shooting percentage is bound to go down, but even if that happens, a 60 goal season for Matthews is plausible.

Not only that, but he would be doing it in less than two minutes of average ice-time per night. Matthews is already averaging close to three minutes more per night this season thanks to the addition of Sheldon Keefe, but if he continues to play even more, who knows how many more goals he could generate.

In terms of even strength goal scoring, if Matthews scored the 41 goals he was on pace for, that would be the second highest in Ovechkin’s 14-year career, which is saying a lot.

Not only would this season be comparable to the future Hall-of-Famer Ovechkin, but it would be unprecedented in Toronto Maple Leafs history.

Rick Vaive’s record of 54 goals in a single season has stood since 1982, but Matthews was bound to break it.

He would have been just the fourth player in Leafs history to score 50 goals and for a team that’s been around since 1917, that’s very special company.

Next. Temper Your Expectations of Mikko Lehtonen. dark

Whether the NHL resumes in two months, six months or a year, don’t take Matthews’ scoring ability for granted. Every night he’s on the ice, you’re watching someone special and one of the greatest Leafs to ever play.