Auston Matthews faces off against Connor McDavid
Photo credit: NHL

Major development comes to light regarding Leafs franchise cornerstone Auston Matthews

Published February 22, 2024 at 10:04

Auston Matthews is already well on his way to become the greatest Toronto Maple Leaf of all-time with his otherworldly goal scoring ability, but even beyond the franchise records that he's been setting along the way, he has also found himself in pursuit of some pretty astonishing NHL milestones outside of Toronto.

Last night, Matthews scored his 50th and 51st goals of the season - in just 54 games. In this day and age, what Matthews is doing shouldn't even be possible. The goalies are more athletic, the equipment is more advanced and lightweight, and the systems in place create far more hurdles for players to overcome in order to score.

Matthews' 50th goal in 54 games has given him the honour of becoming the quickest U.S. born player to ever score 50 goals. It has also made him the quickest to reach 50 goals since the legendary Mario Lemieux, who scored 50 goals in 50 games back in 1995-96. To show just how impressive that number truly is, in the last 3 decades, here are the players who have managed 50 goals in the fewest number of games:

Cam Neely (1993-94 Bruins) 44 games
Mario Lemieux (1995-96 Penguins) 50 games
Auston Matthews (2023-24 Maple Leafs) 54 games
Jaromir Jagr (1995-96 Penguins) 59 games

Obviously, Matthews is a breed of his own in today's NHL. Nobody puts the puck in like he does. After becoming the first player in a decade to record 60 goals in a season in 2021-22, Matthews did see a bit of a dip in 2022-23 as he battled injury the entire season, managing just 40 goals. However, in 2023-24, Matthews has more than made up for the goals he didn't produce last season. Now on pace for more than 75 goals this season, Matthews is on the cusp of doing something that we haven't seen in over 3 decades, since Teemu Selanne and Alexander Mogilny both exceeded that mark, scoring 76 goals each in 1992-93.

We might be witnessing the greatest season by an NHL player in the salary cap era, and as much as it's being talked about right now, it's still probably not being talked about enough.
February 22   |   710 answers
Major development comes to light regarding Leafs franchise cornerstone Auston Matthews

Is Auston Matthews the best player in the NHL right now?

Yes47066.2 %
No, it's still McDavid21029.6 %
McDavid and Makar are both better304.2 %
McDavid, Makar and MacKinnon are better00 %
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