Auston Matthews doing what he does best
Photo credit: CBC Sports

Auston Matthews inadvertently reveals something that he doesn't want anyone to know

Published February 19, 2024 at 12:28

Auston Matthews is currently on pace for an incredible 75 goals this season, thanks to back-to-back hat tricks on Thursday and Saturday against Philadelphia and Anaheim. No NHL player has scored that many goals in a single season since Teemu Selanne and Alexander Mogilny hit 76 goals each back in 1992-93, so to see Matthews not only on track to surpass 70 goals in this current era, it's abundantly clear that he's moved well beyond elite NHLer and has become a generational talent.

After scoring 60 goals in 2021-22, Matthews saw his goal scoring dip in 2022-23, with the Scottsdale kid managing just 40 goals in 74 games last season. Well, he's more than making up for that this season with his 48 goals in 52 games. This morning, Elliotte Friedman had suggested on his 32 Thoughts podcast that if Matthews hits 70 goals this season, he will almost certainly lock up his 2nd Hart Trophy in 3 seasons. Judging by the fans' "MVP" chants on Saturday, they agree.

Since Matthews first established his incredible 70+ goal pace this season, he has had that number at the forefront of his mind. However, not only is he chasing 70 goals - he appears to be chasing a much higher number. Matthews may want 80.

During Saturday's 9-2 drubbing of the Anaheim Ducks, one fan spotted something on Matthews' left glove. It appears to be the number 80, which may or may not have some other sort of significance. However, this fan believes that the 80 is referring to Matthews' own personal benchmark for what he believes he can do this season.

Not since Brett Hull in 1990-91 has a player scored over 80 goals in a season. This was the best era-adjusted goal scoring total in NHL history. Matthews is currently on pace for the second best era-adjusted goal total in NHL history if he can hit 73-75. If he hits 80, it will be the best era-adjusted goal total in the history of the National Hockey League. Better than Hull, better than Gretzky, better than Lemieux, better than Ovechkin, better than Bossy.

What Matthews is doing this season is not only worth celebrating, it's Hall-of-Fame worthy. It's certainly early to be talking about the Hall-of-Fame in connection to Matthews, but it's also a realistic conversation to have. Matthews, within his first 8 NHL seasons, has already won won 5 individual awards, excluding the ones he's sure to win this season if he surpasses the 70-goal plateau.

What we're witnessing right now isn't just greatness. We're witnessing hockey history in-the-making. Let that sink in for a moment. We're witnessing something that, 50 years from now, will still be talked about. Unbelievable stuff from Matthews.
February 19   |   1027 answers
Auston Matthews inadvertently reveals something that he doesn't want anyone to know

Will Auston Matthews hit 80 goals this season?

Unlikely, but I'm not betting against him56254.7 %
No, 80 is far too difficult34533.6 %
Yes, he's definitely hitting 8012011.7 %
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