3 reasons Auston Matthews is the clear-cut frontrunner for the Hart Trophy

Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews has put up a legendary season, and it should end with him taking the Hart Trophy if he keeps up this epic pace.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Washington Capitals
Toronto Maple Leafs v Washington Capitals / Patrick Smith/GettyImages
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The Maple Leafs overall scoring wouldn’t be where it is

Not only would Toronto be suffering defensively without a player like Matthews, but there is no way they would be remotely close to third in the league with 251 goals scored. Currently, they are on pace to score between 302 and 303 goals this season, and Matthews, having found the net 57 times, has scored 22.7 percent of them. 

Just because someone else would have been there in Matthews’ stead if he wasn’t a member of the Maple Leafs, Toronto wouldn’t be sitting at just 194 goals on the year if you took away the 57 he scored so far. But you can cut the number of goals he’s registered this season in half, which leaves you with between 222 and 223. 

Not a bad number, but it would leave Toronto somewhere between 12th and 13th in the league rankings. And remember, there is a good chance they would have allowed over 215 without his presence, meaning there’s a good chance Toronto’s goal-differential would either be slightly in the plus range or even somewhere in the negative range. 

Nobody, not William Nylander, John Tavares, or Mitch Marner, would have made up the differential. They would have scored more, no doubt, but not roughly 19 goals per.