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Could Leafs’ Auston Matthews score 80?


Auston Matthews’ performance this season has indeed been remarkable, drawing comparisons to legendary NHL goal-scorers like Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, and Brett Hull. His tally of 52 goals in 55 games is extraordinary, especially in the salary cap era of hockey where scoring at such a pace is rare.

Matthews’ Goal Per Game Average

Incredibly, at 0.65 goals per game over his career thus far (0.95 this season), Matthews is currently outpacing the top two goal scorers in NHL history, Wayne Gretzky (894 goals; first) and Alex Ovechkin (838; second), each boasting a career average of 0.60 goals per game. While Ovechkin is presently in pursuit of Gretzky’s goal-scoring record, Matthews could potentially join this elite conversation later in his career.

The moment Auston Matthews celebrates his 50th goal with teammates in Arizona. @MapleLeafs

Surging ahead in the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy race, Matthews enjoys a commanding 13-goal lead over Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart (39 goals in 57 games) and has amassed 10 more even-strength goals (37) than Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon (27). Notably, according to NHL EDGE stats, Matthews leads the NHL in mid-range goals (18) and ranks sixth in mid-range shots on goal (84). Additionally, the 26-year-old sits third in high-danger goals (24), trailing only Zach Hyman (28) of the Edmonton Oilers and Reinhart (27). Matthews is also fifth in high-danger shots on goal (90). 

More Matthews Stats

Matthews ranks third in the NHL in shots on goal (238) behind David Pastrnak (288) of the Boston Bruins and MacKinnon (280) but has a much higher shooting percentage (21.8 percent) than not only those players (Pastrnak, 12.5 percent; MacKinnon, 12.1 percent) but also his own NHL career average prior to this season (15.7 percent).


Second Hart Trophy?

After tallying an impressive 60 goals in the 2021-22 season, Auston Matthews experienced a slight decline in goal-scoring during the following season of 2022-23, managing only 40 goals in 74 games.  In a recent episode of his ‘32 Thoughts podcast,’ Elliotte Friedman suggested that if Matthews reaches the 70-goal mark this season, he stands a strong chance of securing his second Hart Trophy in three seasons. This sentiment seems to be echoed by fans, as evidenced by their enthusiastic “MVP” chants during a recent game.

Can He Score 80?

Since establishing his remarkable pace of 70+ goals this season, Matthews seems to have set his sights even higher. Not content with merely reaching the 70-goal milestone, he appears to be aiming for an even more lofty target: 80 goals. During a recent game against the Anaheim Ducks, observant fans noticed something intriguing on Matthews’ left glove—a subtle inscription of the number 80. While the significance of this number remains uncertain, one fan speculates that it may represent Matthews’ own personal benchmark for what he believes he can achieve in terms of goal-scoring this season.

In His Own Words

When asked by TSN prior to Thursday’s game against the Golden Knights, Matthews revealed that he doesn’t harbour a specific goal as he continues his journey toward making history. “I just try to focus on one game at a time and just go from there,” he explained. “I don’t really get too far ahead of myself, just try to stay in the moment, focused.”

Auston Matthews’ remarkable season stands as a testament to his exceptional talent and dedication to the game of hockey. With his scoring prowess and relentless determination, Matthews has elevated himself to the ranks of hockey’s elite, drawing comparisons to legends of the sport. As he continues to dazzle fans and defy expectations, his incredible achievements serve as an inspiration to aspiring players and a source of pride for hockey enthusiasts worldwide.

Myles Shane

by Myles Shane, totimes.ca

Myles Shane is a multifaceted professional with experience as an Associate Producer at ABC News PRIME TIME LIVE, and producer and writer of the documentary “Sex, Fame & Murder” for Bell Canada & A&E. Shane has also written for numerous renowned publications such as The Toronto Star, Animal Wellness, Dolce, The Hockey News, Playback, and a plethora of other magazines, newspapers, and websites. In addition to his side gig writing for the Toronto Times, Shane is a consultant for the new Documentary Streaming Channel in the US and the American film distributor Vision Films. Notably, Shane has made significant strides in fostering young talent and creativity as the creator of the groundbreaking “The Levi’s International Teen Movie Festival.”

lead photo @MapleLeafs twitter https://twitter.com/PR_NHL/status/1760505646242234759

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