Auston Matthews Deserves His Second Hart Trophy

Colorado Avalanche v Toronto Maple Leafs
Colorado Avalanche v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews may be 34 points away from the NHL lead in points right now, but his goal-scoring ability should make him the Hart Trophy favorite this year.

Nathan MacKinnon appears to be the odds-on favorite to win the Hart Trophy with two games to go, but Auston Matthews season is much more impressive. With 51 goals and 138 points, it's tough to argue that MacKinnon is undeserving of the award, but what Matthews is doing - leading the NHL in goals by 14 and even-strength goals by 10 while playing Selke-Level defense - is unheard of.

Over the past 30 years, no player has scored more goals than he has this year and he's not even finished. (stats

Currently sitting at 69 goals, Matthews still has two more games to add to that record.

Auston Matthews Deserves His Second Hart Trophy

In the history of the NHL, Matthews' 69 goals currently puts him at 17th in NHL history in a single season, but if can get to 71 total goals, that would put him in the top-10 in NHL history. He'd join names such as Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, Jari Kurri, Teemu Selanne, Phil Esposito, Alex Mogilny and Mario Lemieux, which is incredible company.

Era Adjusted scoring puts Matthews even higher, making his current season one of the best ever.

As much as those players mentioned were great, defensively, Matthews is better than all of those players too, which makes his season more incredible. He's playing at such an elite level defensively that he deserves to be nominated for the Selke Trophy as well.

Matthews, only has 18 penalty minutes and deserves Lady Byng Award as well. That award is usually sort of laughed at because of hockey's tough-guy culture, but in reality a player who never takes penalties is incredibly valuable to his team.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the Hart Trophy, all anyone seems to care about is points. If you lead the league in points, than you're almost guaranteed to win the Hart Trophy, which is dumb. The Hart Trophy is about the best player, not most point total.

The only reason Kucherov (34 secondary assists) and MacKinnon (38 secondary assists) are so much higher in points anyway is because of their secondary assists, as Matthews only has 14 secondary assists on the season.

Secondary assists are given out like candy, and are not repeatable. They are nothing more than an function of luck, and Matthews shouldn't be penalized for an artificially low point-total when the most important things - 5v5 scoring and defense - are things he is leading in.


Secondary assists are skewing the MVP race, but Matthews is lapping the field with 15 more goals than the next player while playing elite defense.