Maple Leafs: Auston Matthews 40-goal season speaks to perseverance

Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

With Auston Matthews putting up 40 goals this season for the Toronto Maple Leafs, it goes to show that his production is nothing short of incredible.

The only thing that seemed to be a threat to Matthews reaching another 40-goal season was a nagging wrist injury. We have seen in past seasons where injuries and COVID ending last season have cost the 23-year-old multiple opportunities to challenge for the Rocket Richard trophy.

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It’s tough to see a player catching up to Matthews at this point and while some will try to argue that he is playing in an “easier division” but this is still NHL competition.

On top of that, we got some inside information about how tough the battle has been for Matthews with this injury.

"“This has been a hard season, much harder than I think people realize,” said Brian Matthews, Auston’s father said to’s Mike Zeisberger. “There were times that he was playing he could barely hold on to his stick. We tried all kinds of different knobs, and everything else.”"

Credit Toronto for managing Matthew’s health to the best of their ability and prioritizing his long-term health over trying to make him tough it out. We are also seeing Matthews finding different ways to score which shows why he is among the top goal scorers in the league.

There is no doubting Connor McDavid will likely be the Hart Trophy winner given his production is above and beyond anyone else in the NHL. At this point, what seems to matter more for Matthews is doing everything he can to push the Leafs forward as a contender.

"“I want to score, I want to produce and do those things,” Matthews told Zeisberger. “But I’ve just been trying to do the little things that help the team win and put the momentum back on our side. It’s more than just scoring goals.“Obviously that’s what I’m here to do, that’s what I want to do, but just playing that full 200-foot game, competing night in, night out, that’s all I can look to myself to do.”"

Toronto Maple Leafs: No reason to be worried about Montreal Canadiens in playoffs

The Leafs have had their fair share of letdown performances this season but since their two losses in Vancouver, this team has been on a mission. They only have one loss in their last seven games in overtime to Montreal.

In their 5-2 win over the Canadiens on Monday, Leafs fans should not be worried about playing them in the first round of the playoffs. Sure, Montreal doesn’t have Carey Price, Brendan Gallagher and Shea Weber right now but Toronto has shown that the talent gap is quite wide.

The Leafs took a sizeable lead in the first period and while Montreal attempted a comeback, the team shut things down and showed a commitment to not letting the Canadiens get back into the game.

Toronto is establishing the way they want to play in the playoffs and there’s no reason to think it can’t lead to success.

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What are your thoughts on Matthews’ 40-goal season? Do you have any concerns about the team heading into the playoffs? Let us know in the comments below.