Toronto Maple Leafs 2021 Season Prediction # 3: Matthews leads NHL in goals
If it weren’t for injuries and COVID-19, Auston Matthews would have a 50-goal season to his name.
Matthes had his best chance last season with 47 tallies in 70 games and many even wondered if the Leafs centre would be able to challenge Rick Vaive’s team record. So how do we expect the Leafs centre to outscore the likes of Leon Draisaitl and Alex Ovechkin?
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It comes with him taking more opportunities on the power play which is what has been the key for many of the league’s top scorers. Matthews finished outside of the top five in goals scored on the man advantage.
What has made Matthews one of the most feared goals scorers in the league is that he doesn’t just rely on the power play to produce. Matthews and Ovechkin tied in goals at even strength with 35 which was eight more than what Draisaitl had.
This is why many believe Matthews can easily be the league’s top producer and it will help if he plays with Marner and Thornton all season long. Both players are premier playmakers and Matthews isn’t afraid to put himself in the best area to score.
Going up against the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens 16 times should help Matthews in a big way considering he has 15 goals in 29 games against them. It will be fun to watch Matthews face Connor McDavid and Draisaitl eight times and hopefully, that pushes him to want to outplay the Oilers duo.
Considering Matthews scored at a 0.67 goals per game rate last season, the 23-year-old would project to score 37 goals. If he scores at the rate of his career average of 0.56 goals per game, he should have no problem getting at least 31 tallies.
What are your predictions for the Leafs in the 2021 season? What are you excited for this season? Let us know in the comments below.