Toronto Maple Leafs: Auston Matthews Is About to Go On a Hot Streak

If history has taught us anything, Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews is about to go on a goal-scoring heater.

As of right now, Auston Matthews is on-pace for 33 goals this year, which would be his lowest total in his six-year career with the Toronto Maple Leafs. That’s pretty amazing that his worst goal-scoring season would equal more than William Nylander’s best, but that’s just how good Matthews is at finding the back of the net.

Since Toronto’s media has nothing better to talk about, there’s been a ton of buzz surrounding Matthews’ “lack of scoring.” I find that pretty bizarre because he still has seven goals in 17 games and is coming off wrist surgery, but what do I know?

The team is winning and sure, he’s not scoring at a pace that he typically does, but he’s still a point-per-game player and drives the offense.

I can understand some frustration because he was pacing towards 50 goals in 50 games at one point last year, but we need to be patient. The goal-scoring frenzy is about to happen any day now.

Auston Matthews Is About to Go on a Tear

In 351 career NHL games, Matthews has a 15.8 shooting percentage (stats: hockeyreference.com). That’s much higher than the NHL average of 9.46%, but Matthews is that much better than the league average. It’s also higher than Alex Ovechkin, who has a career average of 12.8% (stats: hockeyreference.com).

Matthews never took as many shots on net as Ovechkin did early on in his career, but it hasn’t hurt his production. No matter what type of shot Matthews throws on net, it has a chance to go in because he’s so good at angling his stick to beat the goaltender from anywhere.

As I mentioned before, Matthews’ career shooting percentage is 15.8%, but in 17 games this year, he’s only at 9.5%, which is way lower than his average. Despite having that lower percentage, Matthews is shooting the puck more than he ever has and is on-pace to average 339 shots, which would be a career-high.

The real problem for Matthews so far has been scoring 5v5.  He has just two goals – which is 10th best on the Toronto Maple Leafs – despite being the NHL’s best 5v5 goal scorer since he came into the NHL.  He is currently shooting just 3.77% at 5v5 after shooting over 15% for his career.

Among NHL players who’ve played 250 minutes, Matthews is second in shots per minute, first in individual scoring chances per minute, second in dangerous chances per minute (to Adam Henrique, of all people).  He is obviously going to start scoring soon.

Based on the law of averages and a five-year sample size, Matthews’ shooting percentage is bound to rise any day now. Even though he’s only on-pace for 33 goals right now, if he gets his shooting percentage back to normal, that goal-total pace would jump to 54 goals and he’d ultimately break Rick Vaive’s single-season Leafs goal record.

It may feel like 17 games is way too many to get his average back up, but he’s still eligible to play 62 more regular season games. A whole lot can happen in that timeframe and Matthews has the ability to score in bunches, as we’ve seen his entire career.

I’m not asking for Matthews to do anything more than what he’s done every single year as a professional, so I wouldn’t be shocked if he still scores 50 goals this year. Whether or not he wins the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy is another question, because it’ll be tough to beat what Leon Draisaitl is up to right now.

Despite the early criticisms, just wait Leafs fans. Matthews is about to go on a heater and it may just start in California.