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Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Top 34 Auston Matthews moments from year one

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

No words.

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.

By the way…

27. Boris!

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.

Thank you my Toronto friends for this screenshot from Canadian SportsNet broadcasting! Thank you Christine @snchrissimpson

A post shared by Boris Dorozhenko Hockey School (@boris_hockey) on

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:

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

Stone-cold.

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.

18. Being a fashion icon

Our friend Gráinne from Canucks Army posted this helpful twitter moment to document Auston and his special outfits.

17. Game 4 playoff goal

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

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.

12. Game 5 tying goal

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.


I’m sure there’s some things I left out, so feel free to add them to the comments.

  • Robert

    Great list. I would have included the pass to Nylander where Matthews intentionally shot wide, the puck bounced off the boards behind the net right to a wide open Nylander. I just can’t remember the game it happened in. I remember all the post game talk was if the 2 had practiced it before and them saying they had but just for fun, not expecting to actually use it in a game.