Is Auston Matthews a modern day Mario Lemieux?

Published April 3, 2022 at 1:57 PM
BY COLE HAYES
It's safe to say that the two best hockey players in the world today are Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews. At the very least, it's arguable, but there's parallels to the two players that dominated hockey in the 80s and 90s, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. While McDavid is the Oilers star who dominates the league, Auston Matthews is putting up numbers that haven't been seen since Super Mario's heyday. Currently, Matthews is in contention for the Hart, Rocket and Selke Trophies after scoring over 50 goals and being one of the best two-way forwards in hockey. He's now also on pace for 63 goals this season.


After what was a slow start to the season for his standards, Matthews has shown why he's the best goal scorer in hockey with 44 goals in his last 46 games. The 24-year-old is a dangerous shooter who can beat a goalie from anywhere on the ice. He's putting up goal scoring numbers that haven't happened since Mario Lemieux was playing, and keep in mind that we've lived through Alex Ovechkin's prime.

The parallels between Lemieux and Matthews don't stop at goal scoring. Matthews plays a similar style, using his size and his athleticism to create space for himself where there is seemingly none. Matthews, like Lemieux, operates on pure horsepower and has the silky hands to match the speed at which he thinks the game. He's also a very smart two-way player.


Between his prolific goal scoring, to his excellent defensive play, it's time that fans outside of Leafs Nation start acknowledging Auston Matthews as a modern day great. Not only did he come into the league and score 40 as a rookie in an age where scoring goals is the hardest thing to do, but he's shown steady progression season over season since entering the league, and he's just now entering his prime years.



Sure, there are other parallels that you can draw between Matthews and players other than Lemieux. Brett Hull would be a pretty good example from a pure goal scoring standpoint. Nothing against Hull, who was a fantastic player in his own right, but I don't think he was a generational talent. Matthews, like Lemieux, Gretzky and even a more modern name like Sidney Crosby, is a generational talent and a complete player. It's time he's recognized as such.
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