Auston Matthews has officially been unofficially a Leaf for a year now. On April 30, 2016, the Leafs won the draft lottery and the right to select him first overall. Though there were a small minority who wished the Leafs would select Patrik Laine, it was pretty clear the Leafs were going to call up #34 for their selection on that fateful day in Buffalo.
The rest is history.
Here are 34 of the best things he’s done in the year since, in some sort of order that you’re free to argue about.
Honourable mention: Auston Matthews by SVDVM.
Since it’s not actually by him it doesn’t qualify, but hit ’em with the 4, anyway.
34. These antics with his fellow rookies
Nice to see our boy Auston being nice and friendly with everyone in town.
33. The Toronto St. Pats goal
Matthews scored a goal on March 18th for the only ever non-blue and white NHL jersey he’ll ever wear.
32. This pass to William Nylander
Not the most spectacular pass you’ll ever see, but a great piece of vision nonetheless that lead to a William Nylander goal.
31. Shootout goal vs. NYR
The Leafs didn’t win this game, but BANG! This was a heckuva shot.
30. This stupid dance
— Faizal Khamisa (@SNFaizalKhamisa) January 13, 2017
29. His goal against Carolina
This goal was fun and funky and was a bit lucky too, but still a heck of a lot of skill involved.
28. This handshake with Alex Ovechkin
Auston Matthews, who revealed an an interview earlier this year he was at Ovechkin’s most famous goal as a Phoenix Coyotes fan, seemed to earn the respect Washington’s captain following the Leafs’ round one exit.
Nice moment between the best Number 1 overall pick in the series, and Alex Ovechkin. pic.twitter.com/qwlJyVaUOx
— Faizal Khamisa (@SNFaizalKhamisa) April 24, 2017
By the way…
One of my favourite fun facts about Ovechkin is how Auston Matthews has more goals and as many points as him
— Adam Laskaris (@adam_laskaris) April 10, 2017
In case you missed our story on him last summer, Auston learned his craft under a unique coach named Boris Dorozhenko.
Though it doesn’t look like there’s video footage of it anywhere, Boris gave a memorable interview on Sportsnet when the Leafs visited Arizona in December.
26. Being named the rookie of the Month for December
One of three Leafs rookies to take home the award this year (I’m sure you can name the other two), Matthews put up 8 goals and 4 assists in 12 games as he was on an absolute tear.
Here’s his first goal of the month…
and his last…
Listen to that crowd. Road game, btw.
25. Being named a Calder finalist
The likely favourite to take home the Calder trophy later this year, Matthews was recently named a Calder finalist alongside Patrik Laine and Zach Werenski.
24. Brian and Ema Matthews
Auston’s parents became staples at many games this season. With mom typically wearing the #34 jersey, and dad trying to hide how proud he was of his son, they formed a great pairing in the crowd.
Here’s one of just many moments of them this season:
Jake Dotchkin knee on Auston Matthews. Parents react accordingly. pic.twitter.com/Qrac6isrrV
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) April 7, 2017
And here’s an awesome feature from Sportsnet on his father talking about his son. Really think they should’ve included his mom’s perspective, too, though.
23. The World Cup
Auston played just three games at the World Cup for everyone’s second favourite team in Team North America (some people’s favourite, actually), but it was a pretty memorable tournament for him. He scored twice and added an assist in three games, which sadly might be the only three games we’ll ever see from “TNA”.
22. This look at Luke Schenn
Auston Matthews is looking at Luke Schenn like "Really? YOU were the franchise rookie here once?" pic.twitter.com/45bYvWAgs0
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) December 16, 2016
21. His first career goal
Just a gritty play to get stick on puck and give the Leafs a 1-0 lead over Ottawa. He had more to come, but this signified to the NHL that he had arrived on the scene.
20. His karaoke moment
In the midst of a partial line brawl, Matthews and Mitch Marner were having the time of their lives singing along to a classic tune.
19. This assist to Connor Brown off a lost faceoff
In his first career win over Ottawa, Auston Matthews absolutely nailed this pass to Connor Brown. My second favourite assist of the season, probably, after Brian Boyle’s 2OT winner to Kasperi Kapanen in game 2 of the first round.
Connor Brown puts the Leafs up 4-2 in the third period thanks to a crazy faceoff recovery by Auston Matthews pic.twitter.com/bXtuLnJwKc
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) January 15, 2017
18. Being a fashion icon
Our friend Gráinne from Canucks Army posted this helpful twitter moment to document Auston and his special outfits.
in honour of his season being over here's my case for Matthews being the best dressed NHLer (not named Subban)https://t.co/qb2ER1aSFZ
— Gráin Cherry (@wholegrainne) April 24, 2017
17. Game 4 playoff goal
Auston Matthews scores his second goal of the playoffs and the Leafs are back in this game, 4-3 in the third period. pic.twitter.com/Rtj2hD3Clg
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) April 20, 2017
Honestly, the only reason this goal isn’t higher is because the Leafs didn’t find a way to tie this game up.
16. His first career hat-trick
Auston Matthews. Hat trick. 21 minutes into his career. Three shots. pic.twitter.com/YTt8DOalNY
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) October 13, 2016
I didn’t want to give so much love to his first night (as awesome as it was). Had he stopped here, this goal would’ve easily swapped places with his fourth goal of the night.
15. This assist
14. Leading the league in 5v5 goals
This isn’t a particular moment, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless. 29 goals was two more than anyone else, and he was one of just four players to hit at least 25 on the year.
13. This goal at the All-Star game
This also goes along with being named an all-star in year one.
This is a GIF of Auston Matthews scoring a goal from the statue position. pic.twitter.com/COl8RN3sDr
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) January 29, 2017
12. Game 5 tying goal
Auston Matthews scores his third goal of the playoffs to tie the game for the Leafs, 1-1 pic.twitter.com/vzDyhJR8Lv
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) April 22, 2017
11. Breaking the Leaf rookie goals record
See ya, Wendel.
10. Breaking the Leaf rookie points record
The goal itself was pretty special, but the milestone was even better. With his 39th goal and 37th point, Auston Matthews safely put his name in the record books as the most productive Leafs rookie ever.
9. Hitting 40 goals on the season
The goal itself isn’t that impressive and neither is the jump from 39 to 40, but putting the milestone onto his resume is something very few teenage rookies can claim.
Hit em with the 40 like Auston Matthews
(5-3 Empty Netter) pic.twitter.com/QBKQrQ0O60
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) April 9, 2017
Here’s all forty: (or you can check them out in gif form on @3rdPeriodSuits profile here.)
8. The sassy fist bump
Broken out many times over the season, this move is equal parts cocky and unique.
7. First career playoff goal, game 3
In what was one of the better playoff games you’ll see this year, Auston Matthews got things going for the Leafs with this marker.
Auston Matthews scores his first playoff goal of his career, bringing the Leafs back into the game. 2-1. pic.twitter.com/9nzUovLGfT
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) April 17, 2017
6. Goal #4
Far from the best goal of his season, (but still a dandy effort), this goal from Matthews put him in a class above all other NHL debuts. Literally, the best debut ever.
Auston Matthews becomes the first player in NHL history to score four goals in his first NHL game. Great feed from Nylander too. pic.twitter.com/nznJxzqA4L
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) October 13, 2016
5. His Game 6 go-ahead goal
The goal wasn’t the game winner some hoped for, but damn if it didn’t give you all the hope in the world. Fortunate bounce or not, the lift on this thing is crazy.
4. The first time he put on a Leafs jersey
When the words came out of Mark Hunter’s mouth, it was official. On June 24th, 2016, the Toronto Maple Leafs selected Auston with the 1st overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft.
3. Goal #2
Second goal of his first NHL period.
Goal of the year finalist, probably.
Erik Karlsson is one of these defencemen.
My god. pic.twitter.com/rzSvvrJh3D
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) October 12, 2016
Probably his best goal of the season, on opening night. Speechless.
2. Centennial Classic winner
Sure, the Centennial Classic means the same as every other NHL game, but would you remember this goal as much if it was a mid-November Tuesday night matchup?
No goal he scored this season had more people in person stand witness to it, and there’s no game you’d rather lose less. Especially after the Leafs took a 4-1 lead in the third period of this one, Matthews ending this one was a sweet a moment as they come. The game had all the fanfare of a playoff contest without the pressure of one, and just look at the celebrations of his teammates as they go off to congratulate him. Don’t tell me it means the same as any other game.
— Marina Molnar (@mkmolnar) January 1, 2017
1. Winning the draft lottery
Honestly, for now? The best part about Auston Matthews is that he’s a Toronto Maple Leaf, and presumably will be one for a long, long time. The season didn’t end with a win, but it started with one fortunate victory in a lottery.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) May 1, 2016
Better moments will come and will surely top this list, but just the moment finding out that this wonderful Arizona native is playing in the blue and white is something to behold.
— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) May 1, 2016
I’m sure there’s some things I left out, so feel free to add them to the comments.