The hockey world blew up this week when Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Matthew Knies made a comment about his teammate Auston Matthews.
Not only is Auston Matthews the best player on the Toronto Maple Leafs, but according to Knies, he’s the best player in the NHL.
Not everyone agreed.
The preseason hasn’t even started yet, and fans are desperate for news, so this quote blew up a bit.
Knies Is Right: Auston Matthews Is Better Than Connor McDavid
Here’s his comment:
"“He’s not just the best goal-scorer in the NHL, but he plays defense, too. He’s kind of the best overall player (in the NHL) in my eyes.” (via: ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski)"
And you know what, he’s right.
You’re probably thinking I’m crazy to say that Auston Mathews is better than Connor McDavid, but we’re only one-year removed from Matthews not only winning the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, but the Hart Trophy as well.
I know McDavid won those awards last year himself, but during 5v5 play, Matthews is a better player. You can yell and scream that all points and goals count the same, even if it’s on the power-play, but you’d clearly be lying to yourself.
Sure, there is some skill in drawing penalties by an individual, but for the most, penalties are all so random and there are many factors to cause them. Some penalties are called when they’re not even penalties and some penalties aren’t called when they were clearly an infraction.
Matthews Is Better Than McDavid
Not only that, but some players just naturally get more calls and McDavid has always been that player. For example, at one point during the 2021 season, Matthews had drawn three penalties, compared to McDavid who’d drawn 18.
I don’t know if it’s the Toronto hatred over the year’s by these referees, but those numbers are insane and McDavid benefits tremendously on the power-play for getting more calls.
If Matthews had that same sort of number, he’d probably score 70 goals per season, but unfortunately, the referees hate Toronto.
However, despite yelling about the power-play issues, let’s look at 5v5 scoring. Over the past three years, Matthews has 92 goals 5v5, compared to McDavid, who has 73.
That number alone should suggest just how more dominant Matthews is because the true game of hockey is played 5v5 and anything scored on the power-play is gravy.
Another reason why Matthews could be considered better than McDavid is for his defensive player. McDavid is faster than Matthews so he can cover more space, but overall his defensive game isn’t anywhere close to Matthews.
Matthews has finished in the top-16 in Selke Trophy voting on three occasions, while McDavid has only finished 16th once.
Overall, Matthews continues to make a difference defensively every night and should continue to garner top-10 votes for the rest of his career.
Look for McDavid to take a step back this year and for Matthews to take a step forward. It’s going to be another fantastic year now that his contract situation is figured out and he’s going to once again be nominated for the Hart Trophy this year, defeating McDavid once again.