With eight games remaining it seems like a matter of when and not if Auston Matthews will break Clark’s 31-year old record. The young Leafs phenom tied Clark’s record with his goal against the Sabres on Saturday night, a feat that no other rookie has been able to achieve in the 31 years since Wendel Clark’s rookie season back in 1985-86.
When asked about whether or not Clark’s record was on his mind Matthews responded nonchalantly, “Not much. I don’t think it’s really something that comes up in conversation.” Not that we would expect him to say anything different as Matthews’ responses to the media are usually well calculated, but it would also make sense to assume it’s on his mind a little bit.Over the last five games, Matthews has scored every other night and if he can stay hot we’ll be talking about whether or not he can get to 40 goals let alone breaking Clark’s rookie record.
Over the last five games, Matthews has scored every other night and if he can stay hot we’ll be talking about whether or not he can get to 40 goals let alone breaking Clark’s rookie record. Regardless of what happens, Auston Matthews is having a rookie season that will surely lead him to a Calder nomination and will be difficult to knock off as a winner. Will that march to the Calder Trophy also include breaking a Leafs record along the way?
ROOKIE SIDE BY SIDE:
|Auston Matthews||Wendel Clark|
|Rookie Season: 2016-17||Rookie Season: 1985-86|
|74GP: 34G, 27A = 61 points||66GP: 34G, 11A = 45 points|
|PIMs: 14||PIMs: 227|
Wendel Clark was originally listed as a defenceman during his junior days until he was moved to the wing by World Juniors coach Terry Simpson in the winter of 1984. Clark went on to be selected by the Leafs first overall ahead of Craig Simpson and instantly became a fan favourite with the ability to score goals as well as to cause havoc on the ice. The future captain went on to play 608 games with the Leafs and is now regarded as one of the most beloved players in franchise history.
Auston Matthews’ story is only just beginning at the NHL level but it is already a story worth telling. Matthews a native of Scottsdale, Arizona, chose a unique path for his draft year which took him to Zurich in the Swiss League which allowed him to get a head start on playing professional hockey rather than doing the usual junior or college circuit. Matthews made an immediate impact for the Leafs when he scored four goals in his first ever NHL game which made him the first player of the modern era to score four goals in his debut.