Auston Matthews becomes the fifth Maple Leaf to score 300 goals
Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
By Alex Hobson1 month ago
Well, that didn’t take long. The goal to tie the game in the season opener against the Montreal Canadiens would be the Toronto Maple Leafs’ second of the game, the first of Auston Matthews’ season, and the 300th of his NHL career.
Burying a power play goal made possible by a nifty passing play set up by Mitch Marner and John Tavares, Matthews became the fifth player in Leafs history to reach the milestone. He joins Mats Sundin, Darryl Sittler, Dave Keon, and Ron Ellis in the club of former Buds to do it.
Matthews came into this season with 299 goals, having scored at least 40 goals in all but two of his seven NHL seasons to date, and given the wrist issues he was battling during parts of last season, to see him score his 300th goal in classic Matthews fashion was refreshing, to say the least.
Although it would be a tough task to ask him to catch Keon’s record of 365 career goals, there should be little doubt that by the end of the 2023-24 season, he’ll be sitting comfortably at fourth place on the list. Ellis is currently ahead of him with 332 goals, and knowing what Matthews has been able to bring year after year, he should be up a spot by the time the trade deadline rolls around.
And, just in case one milestone wasn’t enough, he also broke the record set by Babe Dye for most goals in season-opening games, with tonight’s goal being his tenth in that category. Obviously, he had some help from his record-setting four-goal NHL debut back in 2016-17, but it’s yet another impressive feat to add to his ever-growing resume at his age.
This is common knowledge, but having just turned 26 a little over a month before, Matthews is well on his way to being the most prolific player in team history. He’s only 120 goals away from taking over the franchise lead from Sundin. And, again, given the pace of his career to date, this is something he could very well achieve before he turns 30.
While people will always bring up the playoff success, there’s no doubt that Matthews is treating an entire generation of young hockey fans to a level of stardom that we haven’t seen since Sundin’s prime. The remainder of this season and his career alike will be incredibly fun to track.
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