Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews is off to a somewhat slow start, compared to his previous seasons, but it’s about to change.
During the 2020-21 campaign, Auston Matthews had the greatest season in Toronto Maple Leafs history.
He scored a team-record 60 goals and finished with 106 points. However, when it was all set-and-done, the year ended like it always does: with a first-round exit.
Despite losing in Game 7 again, Matthews showed up in the playoffs, scoring four goals and registering five assists. He even scored the game-winning goal in Game 5 to put Toronto up 3-2 in the series, but as per usual, it wasn’t enough to get the job done.
Obviously, you can’t put the entire blame on him, but as the leader of the team, you would’ve loved for him to have put the team on his back in Game 7 and scored two goals to lead the team to victory, but it wasn’t the case.
Matthews Will Win Rocket Richard Trophy
With eight goals and 19 points, in 18 games, Matthews is off to a slow start, compared to his previous seasons. At this rate, he’d finish with 36 goals and 86 points.
For some players, that’s a career-high, but for Matthews, that would be his second-worst season of his career.
But don’t worry, it’s all about to change.
Matthews is third in the NHL in shot attempts right now, only behind Timo Meier and David Pastrnak. That’s an important stat, because his shooting percentage right now is 10%. In comparison to the rest of the NHL, that’s an average shooting percentage, however Matthews isn’t average.
Currently in his seventh season, Matthews’ career shooting percentage is 16.1%, with his highest-rate being 18.5%, which he had last season (stats: hockeyreference.com).
So if you look at Matthews’ stats right now and compare them to his average shooting percentage and career-high shooting percentage, this is where he should be at:
- Auston Matthews:
- Average Shooting Percentage (16.1%): With 80 shots on net, Matthews would have scored 13 goals
- Career-High Shooting Percentage (18.5%): With 80 shots on net, Matthews would have scored 15 goals
The NHL’s goal-scoring leader right now is Connor McDavid with 15 goals, who’s shooting at 23.1% and in second-place is Bo Horvat who’s shooting at 21.9% with 14 goals.
Both of those averages are not sustainable for an entire NHL season, as McDavid’s career average is 15.3%, while Horvat’s is 13.5%.
Essentially, if Matthews was shooting at his average shooting percentage, he’d only be two goals behind McDavid, who’s shooting at a crazy high percentage.
Even crazier: Auston Matthews leads the NHL over the past three seasons in 5v5 goals by 31 over the second place scorer. Yet, this season, he is shooting just 3.77% the lowest mark for a season in his career is 13%. He has just 2 5v5 goals so far.
An explosion is coming.
Sorry to add so much math to the column, but it’s pretty basic when you break it down. Matthews is currently shooting at a lower percentage than normal and that’s bound to balance itself out by the end of the regular season.
Although the value isn’t amazing, you can find Matthews at around +375 ($100 pays $475 total) to win the Rocket Richard Trophy right now and as a betting man, I’d take that bet all day.
Even with a seven-goal disadvantage, by the time the season is over, Matthews will once again be the winner of that award and beat out Connor McDavid.