Auston Matthews scored his 50th goal of the season last night, becoming only the fourth player in Toronto Maple Leafs to do so.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and their fans need to look back to April 30th, 2016 as one of the greatest days in team history.
From 2004 to 2016, being a Leafs fan was embarrassing. The team had some success with Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak but overall, cheering for this team was difficult.
We all got excited when Brian Burke took over and they acquired Joffrey Lupul, Jake Gardiner and Dion Phaneuf, but in what felt like one week, we were all hoping they would get shipped out of town.
Then, Brendan Shanahan was hired. The “Shana-plan” was the bible and Mike Babcock and Lou Lamoriello were his decibels and things were finally going to move in the right direction.
The first two years were pain, but they had a vision named the all-mighty Auston Matthews himself. Fresh from Switzerland and the Team USA Development program, a potential superstar raised in Arizona was potentially set to be the new face of the Leafs.
Toronto tanked and played what felt like 1000 different players that campaign and made sure that every single player in their system got a sniff at the NHL level to secure their chances at being the worst team in the NHL.
Then it all came down to the ping-pong balls.
That same system denied them from drafting Connor McDavid the year prior, but would it be good enough for Auston Matthews? We were all waiting and hoping. From 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3…..
Toronto had a 50/50 chance to secure the pick and it happened.
The Toronto Maple Leafs won the NHL Draft Lottery and now had the right to select Auston Matthews with the No. 1 overall selection.
Matthews is The Greatest Toronto Maple Leafs Player of All-Time
Fast-forward six seasons and we’re continuing to watch Matthews night-after-night destroy the league.
43 goals in his last 45 games?! What in the heck is going on right now?!
Matthews is like a video game. He’s scoring in every way possible and putting up crazy points at the same time. He plays a 200-foot-game while being the best pure goal-scorer this game has ever seen.
Alex Ovechkin is the greatest goal-scorer of the past 20 years (and maybe in NHL history), but Matthews could reach him by the time he’s set and done. Sure, he has a decade of less playing experience but he can score in every different way. He has way more versatility than Ovechkin in that respect, and it’s incredible to watch every night.
50 goals is an incredible achievement and he’s not close to finished.
60 (!) goals is a true possibility. With 15 games left, Matthews needs another 10 goals to do it and at his current pace, it’s probably going to happen.
If you’re watching the Leafs right now and you’re not appreciating the greatness of Matthews, you’re insane. It doesn’t matter if the Leafs never win a playoff game for the rest of his career.
Let me repeat that.
It doesn’t matter if the Leafs never win a playoff game for the rest of his career.
Matthews is so much fun on a nightly basis that the playoffs are just a bonus. During a dark time, we thought Joffrey Lupul was worth the price of admission. Now, with how Matthews is playing, they should be charging $1,000 just to watch him play on TV, let alone in-person right now.
Sorry for the fluff and excitement around a 24-year-old millionaire but this is so much fun to watch. As a life-long Toronto Maple Leafs fan, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Well, maybe a parade down Yonge Street, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.