4) Would Auston Matthews have set a franchise record for goals in a season?
There are currently three Leafs players who have scored 50 goals in a season – Rick Vaive (three times), Dave Andreychuk and Gary Leeman. With 47 goals and 12 regular season games remaining, the likelihood was that Auston Matthews would have joined the 50-goal club.
As such, the real question is whether or not Matthews would have set a new franchise record for goals in a season? The mark is currently held by Vaive, who scored 54 goals during the 1981-82 campaign.
If you do a quick calculation, the 2016 first overall draft pick would manage to squeeze past Vaive’s mark. Divide 47 goals by 70 games, then times it by 82 and you come up with 55 goals.
Of course it’s nowhere near as straightforward as that, but it makes for interesting reading regardless. One of the factors which could help answer the question, albeit not with any certainty, is how much time Matthews would likely spend on the ice during the rest of the 2019-20 season.
In this respect, consider the 22-year-old’s average ice time per game over the course of the campaign. Since October his average ice time had steadily increased every month, essentially meaning that if nothing else, he has had more opportunities to score goals.
In should be noted though that increased playing time does not necessarily correlate to more goals for Matthews. Consider that after an average of a 0.90 goals per game in January, this went down to 0.60 in February and 0.50 in March, (although it is appreciated he only played four games in March).
Overall, our belief is that Matthews would have come up just short in his quest to set a new franchise record for goals in a regular season. However, there is no way of knowing for sure, and there would be no issue in being proved wrong.