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LEAFS MATTHEWS NEEDS TO EXPAND ITS GAME
In his four years in the NHL, Auston Matthews is second in the entire league in goals, behind only Alex Ovechkin and just ahead of David Pastrnak, Nikita Kucherov and Leon Draisaitl.
It is indeed an individual place where no maple leaf has ever been before, surrounded by three Hart Trophy winners and nine-time Rocket Richard Trophy winner Ovechkin, who tied with Pastrnak for the award. last season.
During his rather short playing time, Matthews leads all hockey with evenly matched goals, ahead of Ovechkin 121-116 and that means even more when you consider that Matthews was 31 games less than the Ovi.
That’s the big aspect of what Matthews brings to the Leafs. What’s not so big or impressive are his assist numbers, where he ranks 80th in the NHL in four years, just behind Jake Gardiner of all. Matthews has yet to hit the 40 assists mark in any season. By comparison, Connor McDavid has averaged 69 assists per season over the past four years.
In scoring, Matthews is only 19th overall, 10th among centers. One of Coach Sheldon Keefe’s first tasks in his first full season with the Leafs is to find a way to expand Matthews’ game. The more he becomes a playmaker, the more attack he creates, the more dangerous he will be as a center player.
PRO SPORTS SO HARD TO FIGURE THESE DAYS
With the NHL, like all leagues, trying to figure out what next season will be like, the idea of having an All-Canadian division is indeed intriguing. Particularly given the range of talent and the apparent flaws of almost every Canadian franchise.