Alex Kerfoot, Luke Schenn continue to marvel at Auston Matthews’ brillance

Photo credit:© Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Mazzei
26 days ago
Although both players are well removed from their last game with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Alex Kerfoot and Luke Schenn have nothing but high praise for their ex-teammate Auston Matthews.
That’s what each of them spoke at length about with the NHLPA’s Chris Lomon with Matthews a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award alongside Nikita Kucherov and Nathan MacKinnon. Matthews previously won the award in 2022.
Schenn re-joined the Leafs during the 2023 trade deadline and the team he arrived to was vastly different from where the franchise was when he initially left back in 2012. The biggest difference was the presence of Matthews on the roster, and it quickly dawned on Schenn during his first practice back just how special of a talent Matthews is.
“Watching him, how quick his hands are and how he sees the game – he’s one step ahead. The size and skill combo that he brings is impressive to watch,” he said. “Auston has this confidence that you don’t see out of many guys, and he is also someone who puts in the work.”
Kerfoot got to experience that work routine for the better part of five years and he reflected on how he knew what to expect on a nightly basis for No. 34.
“Every day, Auston is working on his game, working on every part of his game. Players like Auston don’t ever seem to take days off,” he said. “You watch how good players like Auston are and it’s something that makes you elevate your own game – what they do is make you a better player in practice, in games and preparation.”
His constant dedication to improving his craft is a major reason why Matthews remains one of the best players in the game right now. After all, he is coming off his best season yet from an offensive perspective with personal bests in goals (69) and points (107). The former was more than enough to help secure his third career Rocket Richard Trophy, adding to the impressive list of accolades he has already achieved eight years into his career.
Of course, success in the playoffs continues to elude him with only one appearance past the first round up to this point. One man alone cannot carry his team to the Stanley Cup, but Matthews is the furthest thing from the reason why this current iteration of the Leafs has yet to make a deep run in the postseason.
That’s because both Kerfoot and Schenn know from firsthand experience that Matthews will raise his game to the occasion when the stakes are high.
“Auston is big and strong and protects the puck so well down low. He makes great plays off the rush,” Schenn said when talking about what makes Matthews so impactful in the clutch. “Some of the things he tries and does – you don’t see a lot of guys doing that. Auston is a great skater and gets the puck off his stick so fast.”
“Auston is extremely competitive and always prepared. He has that ability to take over a game in a split-second.” Kerfoot added. If the team needs a boost, he can provide it.”
Suffice it to say that even though it has been well over a year since they last dawned the Blue-and-White, Kerfoot and Schenn continue to marvel at his brilliance. While there is no telling if he will flirt with 70 goals ever again, Toronto can count on him being an impactful player at both ends of the ice on a nightly basis and helping give his team a chance to win.
The Leafs will always have a chance at going all the way as long as Matthews is a member of the Leafs. Two of his former teammates can attest to just how incredible of a talent he is because they saw him working his craft up close and personal.

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