Toronto Maple Leafs: Matthews and Bunting Deserve NHL Awards

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 17: Michael Bunting #58 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on February 17, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Penguins 4-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 17: Michael Bunting #58 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on February 17, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Penguins 4-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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Apr 9, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34) looks on during warm up before a game against the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 9, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34)   Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Hart Trophy

The 2021-22 Hart Trophy belongs to Auston Matthews.

He leads the NHL in goals, with 58 and was the first player since the mid-90s to score 50 goals in 50 games.

He missed games to start the year because of off-season wrist surgery, then had to get up to speed, but once he did, he scored at an 82 goal pace for 51 games.   He missed two games with a suspension and has missed the last three.

There is no doubt in my mind that if he had played every game this season and was healthy in all of them, that he’d be trying to hit 80 as the season wound down.

As it stands, he’s got four more games to hit 60 and become the first member of the Toronto Maple Leafs to do so.

He has 102 points and 58 goals in 70 games.  He is having the best season anyone in the NHL has had since the NHL salary cap came into effect.

He’s the best scorer and among the best defenders. He is the NHL’s best and most complete player and the obvious MVP.

Any conversations about who is “most valuable to their team” and try to argue that because he also plays with Mitch Marner are just idiotic in my opinion. Matthews is the best players and he deserves the Hart.

Connor McDavid should be second, and Mitch Marner third.  Matthews Tkachuk also deserves some love, but others like Makar, Josi, Shesterkin, Draisaitl, and Huberdau just don’t measure up.

Next. Top 10 Reasons This Year Is Different. dark

To conclude: Auston Matthews should be a lock to win the first Major Individual award for the Toronto Maple Leafs since the NHL expanded beyond six teams.  Additionally, Michael Bunting should win the Calder as the rookie of the year, but no other Leafs are deserving of hardware.