The Toronto Maple Leafs knew they were getting something special when they drafted Auston Matthews with the first overall pick of the 2016 NHL Draft. In his rookie season, he put up 40 goals and added 29 assists, playing all 82 games and averaging over 17 minutes of ice time. He also helped the Leafs to an unlikely playoff appearance, even thought they were bounced in the first round on the Washington Capitals.
Matthews’ sophomore season is picking up right where he left off, as the young center already has 10 goals and eight assists in his first 14 games. That puts his career total at a nice tidy milestone of 50 goals. While there have been hundreds (if not thousands) of players who have scrapped together 50 goals in their NHL careers, Matthews’ 50th is special when you consider how quickly he did it.
Goals in first 96 games:
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) November 3, 2017
It took Matthews 96 games to score 50 career goals, a feat that has only been bested by Alex Ovechkin in the last 23 years. The other names on that list are pretty impressive too, including former MVP Sidney Crosby and the young heir apparent Connor McDavid.
The Leafs were awful for a long time in order to acquire young talent like Matthews and teammates William Nylander and Mitch Marner. The “Baby Leafs” appear to have a bright future ahead of them, especially if Matthews can continue to be discussed in the same sentences of the other players in that tweet.