With the NHL season pause because of concerns relating to COVID-19, it’s tough to say whether Auston Matthews will get a chance to score 50 goals for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It has obviously been a tough couple of days with the NHL on pause considering there is little to no idea of when teams will be back on the ice and how the rest of the season will play out.
While the priority should be on ensuring that the concerns related to COVID-19 are prioritized, you wonder if the league will have to go with a shortened regular season or eliminate it altogether. For the Toronto Maple Leafs, and more specifically Auston Matthews, it would be disappointing because it could take away the possibility of him hitting the 50-goal milestone.
Obviously, the last thing we should be worried about it a goal’s record when the coronavirus is forcing countries to take extreme precautionary measures and that travel is a major risk to spread the disease. With that in mind, the NHL is certainly in a tough position.
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There was some positive news with NHLPA chief Don Fehr saying that NHL facilities could be open for players next week. At this point, making sure the risk of getting the virus remains the highest priority but you can bet players will be itching to at least skate on the ice in order to keep their legs in shape.
For Matthews, this season has been a major breakthrough for him considering he was well on his way to his first 50-goal campaign and potentially passing Rick Vaive for the Leafs record of 54. At a time where goals are tough to come by, you expect Matthews to be in the conversation to score 50 again if he stays healthy and because he is capable of going on a run rather than relying on big scoring nights.
There aren’t many players putting up the production that Matthews although he is in a tight scoring race with David Pastrnak and Alex Ovechkin. His 47 goals in 70 games or less hasn’t really been done that much since the ’90s when Mario Lemieux, Cam Neely, and Jaromir Jagr were tearing up the league.
So while it might be crushing to think of Matthews not getting the opportunity to reach 50 goals, it would tough to definitely say that it won’t be possible if the NHL isn’t even sure when they plan on getting back on the ice. With the playoff race so tight, eliminating games in the regular season would be a tough sell for teams that could be looking to recoup some of that playoff revenue in their profits.
Do you think Matthews gets a chance to score 50 this season? What are you doing without hockey being played? Let us know in the comments below.