Toronto Maple Leafs: What to Expect from Auston Matthews This Season

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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Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO, ON – JANUARY 18: Kyle Connor #81 of the Winnipeg Jets battles for the puck against Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs  . (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Physical Play

We started to see a little more of the physical side to Auston Matthews last season, but it is few and far between for a man of his speed and size. He is listed at 6’3″ and 220lbs and he does not use nearly enough of that big body.

Part of the reason is that he is so good with his stick and positioning, both with his stick and his body that he is always at the top end of the charts when it comes to takeaways. Matthews, because he is so good at bouncing off hits, avoiding hits and keeping the puck away, he rarely needs to play the body.

However, if the Toronto Maple Leafs want to improve on their post-season collapses, he needs to play the body far more.

Take Alexander Ovechkin as a prime example. He is also one of the greatest goalscorers of all time, he won scoring trophies, he produced highlight reel goals and he could beat any goalie from anywhere – much like Matthews.

Yet he just couldn’t win a cup. His goals only took his team so far. He went away one off-season and came back a bigger, thicker, heavier hockey player. He started pummelling opposition physically, and then would break them with his goals. Matthews needs to add that dimension to his game.

Verdict: Want to Expect, but Unlikely