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Wednesday’s FTB: Is the Rocket Richard enough for Auston Matthews?

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He’s the Leaf with the most Hart.

NHL: FEB 08 Canucks at Maple Leafs Photo by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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.

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