The Toronto Maple Leafs were really bad the year before they drafted center Auston Matthews in the 2016 NHL Draft. He is only 21 years old and Matthews has lived up to the hype as a number one pick.
He made the playoffs in the first two seasons as a member of the Maple Leafs and they are most likely on their way to the postseason for the third straight season. Matthews has not won a playoff series yet in his career, but this is the year it most likely to happen.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have a Stanley Cup or bust mentality this season. They sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with a 20-8 record and 40 points so far this season. The team has a goal differential of plus 29 and it is tied for the best in the NHL with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Toronto has scored 102 goals as a team this season and Auston Matthews has scored 15 of them. He also has recorded eight assists. His plus/minus is 3.
Matthews scored two goals, including the game-winning goal with under three seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night. For the sixth time this season, he has scored at least two goals in a game. Auston Matthews has only played in 14 games this season and he missed over a month because of a shoulder injury.
Matthews has played in only three games since returning from his injury and he has scored five goals and recorded two assists in that span. His plus/minus in that span is 4.
Auston Matthews has shown no signs of rust ever since returning and he has been a dominant player. This is why the Toronto Maple Leafs are so dangerous.
Matthews is also very lethal on the power play and he also has the ability to take over a game. Auston Matthews has that killer instinct mentality.
He can either be the first or second line centerman. Having players like John Tavares, Mitchell Marner, Kasperi Kapanen, Nazem Kadri, Patrick Marleau, and Zach Hyman around help Auston Matthews out.
He will not be the kind of player that Connor McDavid is, and McDavid was the number one pick the year before Auston Matthews. Matthews is already a super star in this league no doubt, but Connor McDavid is another level compared to him.
He is more of a shoot first center and Connor McDavid is more of a past first center. Auston Matthews won the Rookie of the Year award for the 2016-2017 season. He scored 40 goals in his rookie year and he scored 34 goals last season. Matthews is on pace to score over 30 goals again this season.
He has recorded 29 assists in each of his first two seasons. His plus/minus in his rookie year was 2 and last year it was 25.
In the postseason in his rookie year, Matthews scored four goals and recorded one assist. His plus/minus was 2. In the postseason last year, he only scored one goal and recorded one assist. His plus/minus was -4.
Auston Matthews will have a chance to redeem himself most likely in the postseason. For the Toronto Maple Leafs to make a deep playoff run, he will have to continue playing like a superstar.
– Glenn Kaplan, WTF Sports Intern
Edited by Scott Edwards