On Thursday night, Auston Matthews made history by setting the new record for most goals in a season by a Leaf. It broke a 40-year-old record that was previously set by Rick Vaive in 1982 with 54 goals.
He could have just called it a day with that historic goal, but Matthews decided to one-up the ante:
Auston Matthews in overtime. What a celebration pic.twitter.com/qiAW9iYmzV
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) April 8, 2022
The overtime winner also set the NHL record for most goals in a season from an American-born player, while also registering a career-high 12 shots on goal (three shots shy of tying the record in the salary cap era set by Alex Ovechkin twice). And with 49 goals in his last 49 games, he has a chance to reach the elusive 50 in 50 mark tonight when the Leafs host the Canadiens on HNIC.
This historic performance has become a common trend for Matthews, who is putting together a convincing case for becoming the greatest Leaf of all time.
Matthews leads the NHL in goals 255 goals in just 400 games played since his memorable debut, which is seven higher than Ovechkin. That is a rate of 0.64 goals per game or a 52 goal pace throughout an 82 game season. He has also shown his growth as a two-way force as improved his defensive game tremendously over the past two years and has accounted for 59% of the team’s goals when he is on the ice this season.
At 24-years-old, he is already ninth in team history for goals (five behind Wendel Clark) and 16th for points (four behind Doug Gilmour and just one ahead of Mitch Marner). So long as he remains with the team for at least a decade and doesn’t decide to sign with the Coyotes, Matthews is well on his way to reaching the top ten in both of those categories.
Matthews’ impact has also extended into popular culture. He got a rap song named after him in light of his historic entrance to the NHL, has graced the cover of GQ, appeared twice on the EA Sports NHL cover, and has done numerous sponsorships that include being the first NHL player to sign with a betting company. All of this has made him one of the highest-paid players in the league (and not just because he is one of six players with an AAV over $11 million).
Over the last few years, we ha …
Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation