Toronto Maple Leafs: Will Auston Matthews Injury Cost Him Hardware?
Not only is Auston Matthews’ injury a huge concern for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but it may cost him some hardware.
As it currently stands, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews is set to win his second Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy and first ever Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player.
With six games left in the regular season, Matthews was on pace to reach 60-65 goals and 110 points, which would match Alex Ovechkin’s magical season 15 years ago, when he won the Hart, Rocket and Art Ross Trophy, winning the “triple crown” of NHL awards.
However, his most recent injury is very concerning heading into the playoffs.
It’s been a long time since Matthews missed a game due to injury and the possibility that he’s dealing with a wrist injury makes it even worse. That was the same injury he went through last year and ultimately had surgery on in the offseason to repair.
According to head coach Sheldon Keefe, the injury isn’t going to keep him out for weeks, but missing a regular season game when you’re chasing history isn’t a good sign:
“It’s just not worth him having to play through anything, as minor as it might’ve been. We got to be smart with those kind of things. If it was a playoff game, he’s probably playing…..
Auston’s got a minor injury. At this point here it’s going to be day-to-day. It’s really out of an abundance of caution. Well give him the day off and re-assess him from there,” (via: Mark Masters, TSN.ca)
Toronto Maple Leafs: Auston Matthews Injury is Very Troubling Right Now
The fact that Keefe said “he’s probably playing” is a terrible answer. In my opinion, that’s very scary because “probably” isn’t “definitely.”
If Keefe said “he’s definitely playing if it’s a playoff game,” then it wouldn’t be as big of a deal. But, saying that he’d “probably play” means to me that it would be less than a 50/50 chance for him to play if the Leafs played a playoff game tonight.
We’ve seen day-to-day injuries turn into weeks in the past and with the Leafs having already locked up a playoff berth and heading towards home-ice advantage in the First Round, will the Leafs risk Matthews for his own individual successes?
Scoring 55 goals to break Rick Vaive’s single-season record is an amazing feat, but scoring 60 goals puts him in rare company in the history books. Leon Draisaitl is only four goals back of Matthews right now as well, so if Matthews misses another few games, he could risk losing the Rocket and if he doesn’t win the Rocket, can he really win the Hart?
As it stands, Matthews is eight points behind Connor McDavid, which puts him fifth in league scoring. If he misses a few games, he’ll be in jeopardy of finishing seventh or eighth by the end of the season.
Although scoring 50 goals in 50 games is amazing, it may not be good enough at season’s end, as the MVP award usually turns into a “what have you done for me lately” award.
It’ll be interesting to see how Matthews is feeling and whether or not the Toronto Maple Leafs put his health over individual achievements with six games left.