Toronto Maple Leafs: Happy Auston Matthews Day

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Auston Matthews
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Auston Matthews /

On June 24th, 2016, the Toronto Maple Leafs selected Auston Matthews with the first overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

After winning the NHL Lottery in April, 2016, it was pretty clear that the Toronto Maple Leafs were going to select Auston Matthews with the number-one selection two months later.

There was a little chatter that the Leafs may want to go with Patrik Laine instead of Matthews, but that was primarily to create media-buzz.

As already mentioned, the Leafs went with Matthews over Laine and it’s the greatest selection the franchise has ever made.

Joining Wendel Clark as the only other player selected first overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Matthews is the best player to ever play for the franchise.

Happy Auston Matthews Day

Since today is Auston Matthews Day, I’m going to spend the next 300 words outlining why he’s going to go down as the greatest Maple Leafs player of all-time.

First and foremost, his goal-scoring ability is unbelievable.

There has never been a player on the Leafs roster that has been looked at as the best goal-scorer in the NHL. Even when Rick Vaive was scoring 50 goals per season, he wasn’t even a top-five goal scorer in the league.

Wayne Gretzky, Marcel Dionne, Mike Bossy and even Glenn Anderson were all better goal-scorers than Vaive. Even in one of Vaive’s greatest seasons, Gretzky had 92 goals, compared to Vaive’s 54.

If we take those numbers and put them into today’s game, Vaive’s 50 goals is essentially a 35 goal season today because it was so much easier to score in the 1980s compared to the current era.

We can arguably say Matthews it he best pure-goal scorer in the NHL. Alex Ovechkin still takes the cake as the best goal scorer of our generation, but Matthews ability to score 5v5 makes him the best at getting the puck to the back of the net.

Here’s Matthews first four seasons in the NHL.

  • 2016-17 Season:
    • 82 Games Played: 40 goals (32 Even Strength), 69 points
    • Adjusted 82-Game Season: 40 goals, 69 points
  • 2017-18 Season:
    • 62 Games Played: 34 goals (29 Even Strength), 63 points
    • Adjusted 82-Game Season: 45 goals, 83 points
  • 2018-19 Season:
    • 68 Games Played: 37 goals (25 Even Strength), 73 points
    • Adjusted 82-Game Season: 45 goals, 88 points
  • 2019-20 Season:
    • 70 Games Played: 47 goals (35 Even Strength), 80 points
    • Adjusted 82-Game Season: 55 goals, 94 points

Let’s take a moment to realize that if he stayed healthy for every season following his rookie year, his goal and point totals would have continued to rise at a great pace.

Matthews is only 22-years-old and won’t be in the “prime” of his career for the next five seasons, so what are his numbers going to look like then?

Without question, I think that Matthews will be nominated for a few Hart Trophy’s and I wouldn’t be surprised if he won that award at some point in his career.

He’s a threat to score every night and the fact that he does it even-strength makes it much more feasible that he’ll continue to score a minimum of 40 goals per season.

However, at this pace, a 50-goal, 100 point season may become the reality every year for the former number-one overall pick.

Matthews is only 262 goals away from reaching Mats Sundin’s Toronto Maple Leafs all-time record of 420 career goals. Although that seems far away, Matthews should be able to reach that in the next six seasons if he’s able to continue at a pace between 40-50 goals every year.

If he keeps this magnificent pace, he would beat Sundin’s record in 200 less games and without a doubt become the best Maple Leafs player to ever live (even though I think he already is).

Next. Fun Facts About Every Toronto Maple Leafs Player. dark

Raise your glass to #34 as we celebrate Auston Matthews Day and toast to his all his current and future accomplishments.