Leafs defenseman goes to bat for Auston Matthews in popular debate

Ryan Smitheram
February 23, 2024  (10:31)

Auston Matthews should be a nominee for the Selke Trophy
Photo credit: NHL

All of the talk around Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews lately has been about him "rocketing" up the ballots for MVP nominations. See what I did there?

Scoring again last night, Matthews tallied his 52nd goal of the season in just his 55th game and is doing absolutely ridiculous things on the offensive side of the puck. However, what is lost in his recent accomplishments is just how good he has been on the defensive side to create those opportunities to score.
Matthews has taken just two minor penalties this season and is one of the premiere defensive forwards in the game. Mitch Marner often gets lumped into the Selke conversation instead of Matthews, largely in part due to his ability to play on the penalty kill. However, Matthews has taken on that responsibility this season as well, and while not as frequent as Marner, he has still had an impact shorthanded. The Leafs have always given Matthews credit for his defensive play and how he has grown in that area since coming into the league, but following their win in Vegas, Jake McCabe made a very bold statement about Matthews and his all around play. He doesn't think it's enough for Matthews to just be in the Hart Trophy conversation.
"I think he should be in the Selke conversation too, quite frankly."

McCabe has been arguably the Leafs' most consistent defenseman this season, apart from maybe Morgan Rielly, and these guys can tell the difference when Matthews is on the ice. Why? Because with how good Matthews is defensively, it makes their job easier.
Should Matthews be nominated and win the Selke Trophy, he would be the first Leaf to do so since Doug Gilmour in 1993 and just the second Leaf ever to win the award. With six-time Selke winner Patrice Bergeron now retired, another spot on the ballots has opened up and Matthews is primed to have his name included in the discussion. Well deserved and long past due if you ask me.
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Leafs defenseman goes to bat for Auston Matthews in popular debate

What are Matthews' odds of winning the Selke?

0-25%8417 %
26-50%13126.5 %
51-75%27956.5 %
76%-100%00 %
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