Toronto Maple Leafs: How Matthews Stacks Up Against Former 1st Overall Picks

Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

After being drafted first overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Auston Matthews wasted no time making his mark. He scored 40 in his rookie year and continues to elevate his play.

As the 2016 NHL Entry Draft started to come into focus, it was clear that Auston Matthews was undoubtedly going to be chosen with the number one pick. After the Toronto Maple Leafs won the draft lottery, all that was left was making it official.

Being the top selection in any draft comes with the pressure of immediate production. It’s a fair expectation, given the circumstances that led an athlete there in the first place. While some thrive under that presser, others simply fall short.

With that said, not every superstar starts their careers with the types of performances that eventually become their norm. It may take time for them to develop, grow, and mature into the players they work to become.

Although some who go first overall don’t end up making the impact that was once anticipated, many do go on to earn elite achievements. It just doesn’t always happen right away.

There is an unofficial standard for the type of success expected to be achieved by this segment of superstars. Matthews has already begun to show the Toronto Maple Leafs, their fans, and the rest of the league that his impressive start was no coincidence.

Entering his fifth season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, let’s take a look at Matthews’ first four compared to some of his opposing stars who also hold the title of top draft pick. How today’s greats began their careers may surprise you.

To keep things relevant, comparing stats within the same era of the game, we’ll assess prominent top forward selections from 2000 and onward. Included will be players who are still active.

For starters, here’s a refresher on what Matthews has already accumulated.