Auston Matthews to represent Maple Leafs at NHL All-Star Weekend

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29: Auston Matthews
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29: Auston Matthews /

For the second year in a row, Auston Matthews will be the only Toronto Maple Leafs player to make it to the 2018 NHL All-Star Game weekend.

To no one’s surprise, Auston Matthews will represent the Toronto Maple Leafs in Tampa Bay at the All-Star Game,which will be held from January 26 to 28.

The 20-year-old leads the team in scoring despite missing 10 games with injuries, in 34 games he has 19 goals, 14 assists for 33 points. He will join an Atlantic Division team that is loaded with players from the host city as Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy will be representing the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Now it is no surprise that Matthews would be the player to represent the Leafs, but a case could have also been made for Frederik Andersen and Morgan Rielly to be in the mix as well.

Recently Mike Babcock mentioned to the Toronto Star that Matthews has not been at the level he expects him to be, despite the young center still producing offensively.

"“The measure of you people is whether he scored or not,” said Babcock to Kevin McGran. “The measure for me is does he skate? Does he play 200 feet? Does he dominate the game?“Anytime you’ve been out for periods of time like he has, you don’t skate as good as you normally do. So that’s probably still in process.”"

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Down in the AHL, Travis Dermott and Kasperi Kapanen were named to the All-Star game in Utica. Dermott had 17 points in 26 games while Kapanen had 15 points in 20 games.

At last year’s All-Star Game, Matthews impressed a lot of people with his play, scoring a goal in the opening game against the Metropolitan division with playing 8:16 which was the most for the team.

In the skills competition he had a bit of a hiccup on a breakaway attempt against Sergei Bobrovsky.

He will also get a do-over on the skill relay, which did not go over as smoothly as people may have expected.

While the relay gave him some trouble, the target shooting challenge was no problem whatsoever as he beat Patrik Laine and Connor McDavid‘s time. However, Sidney Crosby would beat out Matthews with the fastest time.

Expect Matthews to try and replicate what he did at last year’s event and possible do better in the other skill challenges. However when it comes to the game, expect the players from the Lightning to be featured more, considering Jon Cooper will be coaching the team.

Next: Dermott’s play not going unnoticed by Maple Leafs

What do you think Matthews can accomplish at this year’s All-Star weekend and were there any Leafs’ players snubbed? Let us know in the comments below.