No. 2: Auston Matthews Shouldn’t Play PK
I can understand the reasoning behind having Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner kill penalties, as they could be more deadly than the opposition’s power-play, but overall I don’t like this move.
Matthews is one of the best defensive forwards in hockey and is known for being strong on the puck, breaking up passes and having a world-class stick-lift, but I don’t want him on the penalty-kill for one main reason: his health.
The last thing I want to see is Matthews jump in front of a slapshot and get hurt on the penalty-kill.
I know that this type of thing can happen in any given moment of a hockey game, but the risk goes up the second he’s on that unit.
Also, Matthews isn’t a burner type of player that’s going to stop a pass and rush down the ice. His partner Mitch Marner has that ability, which is why he’s a great fit, but I’d rather see someone like Max Domi, Noah Gregor or Sam Lafferty go nuts on the P.K and help.
Maybe I’ll be dead wrong with this and Matthews will work out great, but I’d prefer to use Matthews energy 5v5 or on the power-play.
Another thing to consider is that statistically, Matthews is maybe the best 5v5 players alive and instead of playing him on the PK, adding another couple of minutes of 5v5 play might actually have a bigger impact on the team.
Either way, the risk vs reward doesn’t add up for Matthews on the PK.