Toronto Maple Leafs: Auston Matthews goal pace puts him in elite company

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 18: Auston Matthews
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 18: Auston Matthews /

Auston Matthews scored his 50th career goal in the Toronto Maple Leafs loss to the Los Angeles Kings which is the fastest since Alexander Ovechkin had 62 in his first 96 games.

After setting a new Toronto Maple Leafs rookie scoring record, Auston Matthews continues to display his dominance establishing a new milestone against the LA Kings.

It was only a matter of time before Matthews would score his 50th career goal, but a quick search on hockey-reference shows that he has done it faster than Ilya Kovalchuk, Sidney Crosby, Brett Hull, and Paul Kariya.

As James Mirtle pointed out in his latest article for the Athletic, Matthews is on pace to score 59 goals and 105 points. Even if he were to go a slight slump, Matthews could set a new Leafs record for goals in a season previously set by Rick Vaive who had 54 in the 1981-82 season.

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Mirtle also pointed out that the Leafs have become a little too reliant on Matthews as they have been outscore 33-21 with him on the bench. With Matthews on the ice, the Leafs have outscored teams 19-5.

It goes to show how dominant Matthews has become not only with his offence but with his defensive game. Against the Kings, Matthews had to go up against Drew Doughty while also matching up defensively against Anze Kopitar.

The issue in today’s NHL is that the moment a team relies too much on one player, that is when things go off the rails. A prime example of that is the Edmonton Oilers relying too much on Connor McDavid and Carey Price struggling in goal for the Montreal Canadiens.

While it is nice to see Matthews produce at an elite level, it is more important that the Leafs get everyone else going. No matter how well Matthews does this season, it will not satisfy him unless the Leafs make it back to the playoffs and win a playoff round.

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What do you think about Matthews’ recent milestone? Is 50 goals a realistic goal for him this season? Let us know in the comments below.