Toronto Maple Leafs: Auston Matthews Best Goal Scorer of All-Time

Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)
Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Ottawa Senators last night 6-5 in a game with a score that was VERY flattering to the Senators.

The Toronto Maple Leafs destroyed the Senators with five 5v5 goals (it is seriously impressive to score six goals without a power-play goal, almost makes it unnecessary to comment on how ridiculous it is that a superior team can spend the entire night dominating a worse team without just a single penalty being called) while Auston Matthews scored a hattrick.

Matthews scored three times, which gives him 31 on the year, eight more than anyone else.  He is also the NHL leader in 5v5 goals, and he has done it in a season where he went about a month without being able to shoot the puck.

Check this out, it’s crazy:  First 18 games: 18 goals.  Then, he injures his wrist and goes five games without a goal, scores three over two games against the Jets (while still injured) then goes another five games without a goal.  In 12 games games, over a month, he scored just three goals.

The Best of All-Time

Since then, 10 goals in 8 games. Despite the month of playing through an injury, he’s currently on a pace that, over a full 82 games season, would see him score 67 goals, which is more than Ovechkin scored in his best season.

The question shouldn’t be “Is Auston Matthews the best goal scorer in the NHL?” because he has literally been that since he scored four times in his first game.  The question should be “Is Auston Matthews the best goal scorer to ever live?” because the answer might actually be yes.

Wayne Gretzky once scored 92 goals, and he did it while the goalies just wore stuffed brown pajamas instead of goalie pads.  He did it in a year where each team scored more than four goals per game, on average.  This year teams score under three.

Statistically, Ovechkin has long been considered to be a superior goal scorer than Gretzky when adjusted for era, and Auston Matthews is pretty clearly better than Ovechkin in his prime (5v5 goals per minute in their best year: Matthews 1.77 Ovechkin 1.55 (all stats

There is a very good chance we are seeing the absolute peak of Matthews’ abilities, and if so, it’s a shame that it’s happening in this shortened season, because it would be nice to see him top Ovechkin for real, and not just put up a better pace.

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Perhaps next season will feature a full 82 game schedule, and if he stays healthy, while it is unlikely, it is not completely out of the realm of possibility that Matthews challenges the NHL record of 92 goals.

He may be the best goal scorer of all time. He is already the single best player to ever put on a Toronto Maple Leafs uniform, surpassing Mats Sundin around 8:00 last night.