The Toronto Maple Leafs are going through a strange time.
On one hand, the Toronto Maple Leafs recently gave up about a third of their roster in the middle of a season in which they would normally be battling for the President’s Trophy.
And since they’ve known their playoff opponent since October, they’re experimenting wildly.
And Ryan O’Reilly, their keystone acquisition, has only played eight games and is out for a few more weeks with injury.
On top of that, they won regularly despite playing pretty badly. After a pretty bad West Coast trip, they came home and won against New Jersey, Edmonton, Carolina and picked up a point against the Avs, although they didn’t play very well in either of those games.
They were smoked by the Sabers and I don’t know what happened last night because this was written yesterday afternoon but the point is they’re not playing well but they’re winning and it’s hard to know how worried you are supposed to be because of injuries and experiments.
At least we know they can beat their problems and their keeper (Samsonov) is having a great year. So much encourages.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Austin Matthews injured
Hockey’s worst-kept secret came to light this week – Auston Matthews has been playing with a hand injury for most of the season.
That would explain why he doesn’t shoot quite as much or doesn’t hit as much.
But the funny thing is he still has 19 5-on-5 goals and is just 10 behind leader Connor McDavid, while Matthews has scored 2.62 points per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time to Connor’s 2 ,75.
Matthews is 20th overall in goals and 29th in points and rising. Most impressively, he still has a 55% expected goal rate, the best in the Leafs, one of the best teams in the NHL. (all stats naturalstattrick.com).
Matthews is clearly the best player alive considering his MVP season last year, which was the best single season in the NHL since Mario Lemieux’s last Hart Trophy, and considering he’s beating McDavid 5-on-5 this year, and that still has a chance of scoring 50 points if he goes on a heater, but will almost certainly be guaranteed to score 40 points.
When you score 40 goals and mostly play with a bad hand, that’s almost a more amazing feat than scoring 51 goals in 50 games, which he did.
Oh, and he’s the standout two-way forward in the NHL, likely to win a Selke Trophy along with Hart and Rocket next season if he’s healthy.
Matthews seems to be doing really better lately and it seems he’s healthy just in time for the team to warm up for the playoffs.
Also, Auston Matthews is likely to finish this season ranked 5th on the Toronto Maple Leafs all-time scoring list. Had it not been for this injury, he would have finished third at the end of the next season.
Source : editorinleaf.com