Eleven goals in 12 games is a scoring pace we expected from Auston Matthews. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s still an incredible feat from a centre who has found another way to take his game to a higher gear.
Matthews is currently on a 51-goal pace with 0.92 goals/game. I posed the question ahead of the season of whether the 23-year-old could score 50 in 56 games. The record books weren’t on his side, given the kind of pace we’re talking about. Matthews continuing this production wouldn’t only be incredible, but historic (Gretzky level).
The Rocket Richard must be on his mind, and he’s in a good position to stay in the running, similar to last season. But I remember the growing talk of Matthews’ potential as a Hart recipient. The definition of the award has gone through its respective variances via those who are nominated and win, but the trophy goes to the most valuable player to their team.
Not only is Matthews leading the league in overall goals, but he also has the most game-winning goals with five. Yes, game-winning goals can be circumstantial - say if Team A is winning 5-1 and Team B tries to push back while losing by a score of 5-3, the fourth goal winds up being the game-winner. However, Matthews is giving the team scoring when they need it the most. Take his game-winner against the Vancouver Canucks.
A lot can happen between now and the time of nominations. That said, Matthews is making a serious case to get a look in the Hart category.
Jason Spezza on Auston Matthews:— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 9, 2021
"I think he's a special player and he's putting together an MVP-type season."
In Case You Missed It
Updates on Maple Leafs cap space, injuries and the AHL - Pension Plan Puppets
A few bites of news on an off day.
Marlies AHL schedule released - Pension Plan Puppets
This is a partial schedule for February only.
New fans and the road forward.— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 9, 2021
Our inaugural episode of Barrier Breakers dives into the sisterhood - and impact - of @BlackGirlHockey, and their commitment to eradicate racism from hockey. pic.twitter.com/YA4hfpvbet
Around the Hockey World
Another tough day.
Bell cancels all-sports radio format on channels in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Hamilton | CBC News
Bell is cancelling its all-sports format on radio stations in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Hamilton, barely a week after announcing hundreds of job cuts at media properties across Canada.
San Jose Sharks' Evander Kane discusses racial equality in the NHL
Evander Kane discusses being one of the few Black hockey players in the NHL, the influence of his father, and how diversity in hockey can improve.
Should the Minnesota Wild retire Mikko Koivu’s number 9? - Hockey Wilderness
Should Mikko Koivu be the first Wild player to have his jersey raised to the rafters?
What Could A Pavel Buchnevich Extension Look Like for New York Rangers? - Blueshirt Banter
Buchnevich had a solid case heading into this season, and his hot start certainly makes things more interesting.
The only team the Blues will ever play again are the Arizona Coyotes - St. Louis Game Time
The Blues and Coyotes are set to play seven games in a row.
Speaking of the Coyotes: