Leafs GM Kyle Dubas provides his thoughts on Auston Matthews' ''down year''

Published March 4, 2023 at 9:47

Following a very busy February, rearranging a third of the Leafs' roster through multiple trades, Kyle Dubas met with the media following Friday's trade deadline. After acquiring Ryan O'Reilly, Sam Lafferty, Jake McCabe, Noel Acciari, Erik Gustafsson and Luke Schenn over the past month, Dubas made just one minor-league deal on deadline day, sending Dryden Hunt to Calgary in exchange for minor-leaguer Radim Zahorna.

One of the items that Dubas addressed during his availability was the play of Auston Matthews, who is well outside of the Rocket Richard Trophy race after winning the award in back-to-back seasons. Matthews is one of the premier goal scorers in the league, but the puck just hasn't gone in for him at he same rate this season. Nevertheless, Dubas is not concerned and his comments on Matthews' play this season reflected that.

"As everyone knows, he's played through some injuries and things that have hampered him... If this is a down season for him offensively, that's a really good sign in terms of how great a player he is," said Dubas.

Dubas is right. In his "down season" Matthews has 28 goals and 61 points in 55 games and could still hit 40 goals. Down by the standards previously set by Matthews in past seasons, but an impressive season for anyone else. Matthews recently came back from a knee injury that saw him miss 3 weeks and while he is still struggling to score (2 goals since February 15), it's not because of his play. He just isn't having much luck. His shooting percentage is just 12% which is far lower than his career shooting percentage of 16.3%.

With all the new changes in the lineup, it may take a little longer for him and the rest of the Leafs to adjust, but once they do, Matthews should find himself with more opportunities and he's always just one hot streak away from exploding offensively, as we've seen numerous times in the past.

March 4   |   505 answers
Leafs GM Kyle Dubas provides his thoughts on Auston Matthews' ''down year''

Will Matthews reach 45 goals this season?

Yes16632.9 %
No29358 %
Not if he can't stay healthy469.1 %
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