Auston Matthews Day: 34 days until puck drop
August 31, 2017, 10:16 AM ET [130 Comments]
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The thought of the season beginning in 34 days is what sparked the idea of doing an Auston Matthews prediction blog. Can you still picture Shanahan’s face as he held up the Leafs logo when we won the first overall selection? A smile of winning a prize is what I saw.
The addition of Auston Matthews to the Toronto Maple Leafs roster was enormous for many reasons.
The Leafs had been looking for a true number one center since Mats Sundin left, that’s how long it’s been since they had a true number one. Don’t get me wrong I like Kadri a lot and think he brings a lot of value to the team in a number of ways, but he’s no number one center that can carry the team like Auston does.
When Matthews came into the NHL last season I predicted 67 points for the young Leafs stud. Not far off, and I certainly wasn’t complaining when he surpassed my expectations of his total points. But forty goals including four more in six playoff games, come on! That was something special, especially banging in four goals in his first game and igniting a spark into Leafs Nation. He was the first player in the NHL’s 100-year history to score four goals in his debut. It went further than Leafs Nation, league-wide it got fans and players talking about Auston Matthews and the Leafs.
An all-rookie line and Matthews scores 40. Think about that…even if some of these goals were in overtime (Centennial Classic) or on the power-play the majority came 5 on 5 and a good chunk in the first period. Matthews had a total of eight game winning goals as well as eight power play goals.
If you are worried about a sophomore slump from the Scottsdale Arizona born Matthews, don’t be, it’s as simple as that.
With the Maple Leafs adding veteran Patrick Marleau to the lineup, there is a good chance he will be skating with Matthews and Nylander on the top line and power play. His totals are only going to go up, and I think you will see less slumps and more consistency from that line. Marleau will bring more to the table than Zach Hyman in all facets of the game (nothing against Hyman) but the seasoned veteran will do wonders for the Matthews-Nylander combo of glory.
I’m going to make my predictions for Matthews this season and after reading them you can let me know what you think and how close your predictions are to mine.
Goals scored: 46
There will be more consistency this season with three lines flying, but Matthews and Nylander having an off season of training and a year of NHL hockey under their belts I feel they will be prepared and know what it takes to be successful. There won’t be any ten game goalless droughts this season and overall his line will be more effective with Marleau on it. Leafs Coach Mike Babcock won’t be shy to give his future captain extra ice time, he’s going to give Auston even more chances to succeed this season as the Leafs have a quality shot at taking the Atlantic Division if they can stay healthy and continue to progress forward.
Matthews is going to average out to more than a point per game this season and as far-fetched as that may seem, it’s not.
Auston Matthews is the real deal.