One of the best players to ever play issues surprising remarks about Auston Matthews' pursuit of 70 goals

Mike Armenti
February 10, 2024  (12:29)

Auston Matthews needs just 29 more goals to hit 70 on the season
Photo credit: NBC Sports

Auston Matthews has been turning heads his entire life, as a young phenom growing up in Arizona. He was always a special talent, but I don't know if anyone ever saw this Mexican-American kid from Scottsdale, AZ rising to the heights that he has since being drafted 1st overall by the Leafs in 2016.

We always knew that Matthews could put the puck in the net. We saw the shot on full display when he posted 24 goals in 36 games in Zurich as a teenager in his draft year. We saw the elite scoring ability at the highest level when he scored 4 goals in his NHL debut. We saw Matthews shell goalie after goalie in his rookie season, en route to a 40-goal rookie campaign. We saw his affinity for finishing at a very high rate when he hit the 60-goal marker in 2021-22. Now, we're seeing a him reach a whole different level with his elite shot and it's not just fun for us as fans to watch - it's also fun for his NHL colleagues to watch as well.
Recently, during All-Star weekend in Toronto, Pittsburgh Penguins franchise cornerstone and future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer Sidney Crosby had a chance to talk about Matthews' incredible ability to find the back of the net with such a high frequency. Crosby couldn't say enough good things about what Matthews is doing right now and how good it is for the game.
"I think if there's anyone that comes to mind that's capable of doing that, it's him. If you ask any guy who could do that, it's him... Even pure goal scorers, a number like that, you need some bounces too. You need some things to go your way, but he's more than capable. He's shown it. I think it would be great for hockey to see a run like that." - Crosby on Matthews potentially hitting 70 goals

Matthews was, by all appearances, taken aback by the comments of Crosby, one of the best to ever play the game. You can tell just by how he responded that he was honoured to have one of his peers of such a high standing appreciate what he does on a nightly basis the way that Crosby does.
"It means a lot coming from a guy like him. When you're getting the question asked, I'm not sure how else to respond to it, but it's obviously really nice words from him." - Matthews on Crosby's kind words and support

Matthews is up to 41 goals on the season through 48 games. With just 33 games left in the schedule for the Leafs, Matthews would need 29 more goals to do it. It's worth mentioning that he's scored 27 goals in his last 27 games, so the possibility seems to be a real one that Matthews becomes the league's first 70-goal scorer in the salary cap era and the first since Alex Mogilny and Teemu Selanne each scored 76 goals in 1992-93.
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One of the best players to ever play issues surprising remarks about Auston Matthews' pursuit of 70 goals

How many goals do you think Auston Matthews will finish with this season?

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