There’s been this new thing going on around Twitter lately, I’m sure you’ve seen it.

Users are tweeting out images that show who are in their circles based on the number of interactions they’ve had with them on the platform.

In total, 60 people are selected and ranked via their inclusion in one of three circles. If you’re one of the 10 to be included in that first circle then congratulations, you’ve interacted with that person a lot.

Considering how prominent it is now, I thought it would be funny to put a little NHL spin on this and apply it to the Leafs. It would be too much to do every player on the team, so I’ll keep it to one player on this one.

Who would be in Auston Matthews’ inner circle?

The first four are easy to pick choose being Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Zach Hyman and Frederik Andersen.

Matthews has played the majority of his career with Nylander and Hyman and gave Hockey Twitter more ammunition against Mike Babcock while he and Marner were taking off this season. According to Natural Stat Trick, Marner assisted on a Matthews’ goal 13 times at 5v5 (8 primary, 5 secondary) with Nylander assisting on 8.

Since breaking out of the league however, it’s been Nylander and Hyman with the helping hands with a total of 33 and 30 respective assists on Matthews’ 5v5 scoring.

Andersen getting a spot is a no-brainer given how much their friendship has blossomed over the years.

If you need more proof, Matthews and Andersen are currently quarantining together in Arizona.

I would also be in the wrong to not include Patrick Marleau in Matthews circle as the two clearly have a bond even if on different teams.

Now one thing Twitter users have mentioned is that people in their circles are sometimes not even people they consider friends but those they have argued with. The criteria is simply ‘interactions’ which can be both positive and negative. And that’s why Craig Anderson is next.

Of all teams in the league, Matthews has lit up the Ottawa Senators the most with 13 goals in 15 games. Of those 13, 11 of them were on Anderson, and of course the four-goal game comes to mind. We’ll have to throw Carey Price in there as well. Matthews has 12 goals in 14 games against the Montreal Canadiens with the Habs starter seeing 10 of them get passed him.

Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Jack Eichel get the next three spots with the number of times they come up in a “better than” debate vs. Matthews.

I know I’m at 10, but I have to throw Thatcher Demko into this as he probably still thinks about how that puck got through him.


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