The Toronto Maple Leafs have had many legendary players in their long history but, when all is said and done, none may come close to Auston Matthews.
Auston Matthews has been a phenom since being selected first overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2016 Draft, having already amassed a number of individual awards and single-season records.
In his six seasons with the Leafs, Matthews hold the franchise record for most goals in a single season with 60, won the Calder Trophy as the league’s best rookie in 2016-17, has back-to-back Rocket Richards, and won the Hart and Ted Lindsay this past season.
The 6-foot-3, 220lbs American center has already established himself as a Leafs great, and if he plays the majority of his career in Canada’s largest city then there will be two more records he is on pace to demolish.
Auston Matthews to break Toronto Maple Leafs records
Whenever all-time great players are discussed, those that hold the record for a team’s most career points are often those that come to mind immediately. Jarome Iginla for the Calgary Flames, Mario Lemieux for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and of course Wayne Gretzky for the entire NHL all come to mind.
For the Toronto Maple Leafs, Swedish center Mats Sundin‘s 981-game tenure with the team catapulted him to the top of the franchise’s leaderboard in both goals and total points, with the team’s ten-year captain earning 420 and 987 respectively between 1994 and 2008.
Sundin now has his No. 13 jersey hanging from the rafters alongside a number of other Leafs legends, such as Johnny Bower (No. 1), Börje Salming (No. 21) and Doug Gilmour (No. 93), but it is quite possible that the Leafs have a player capable of eclipsing the Swede’s illustrious time with the team.
At present, Matthews has scored 259 goals in the NHL and has 457 total points in just 407 regular season appearances with Toronto, averaging just over 1.1 points per game at his current pace.
If Matthews were to only play as many games as Sundin, Matthews’ current pace for goals would see him reach an astonishing 624. If this was the limit to the American’s NHL career, it would see him finish 18th all-time in league scoring, ahead of Bobby Hull (610), Mike Bossy (577) and even Sundin’s whole career total of 564.
When considering Matthews’ total points trajectory, if he were to maintain his career pace up to 981 games then he would shatter Sundin’s record by more than 100 points – with his current pace putting up at around 1,102 points.
981 games would be a conservative amount to expect from a player such as Matthews, and Sundin himself played 1346 games in total with spells also coming with the Quebec Nordiques, who selected him first overall in the 1989 Draft, and the Vancouver Canucks in his final professional season.
Should Matthews maintain his career pace through that many games, he would finish his career with around 857 goals and 1,511 points. This would put him comfortably second in the league’s current all-time goalscoring list, above the legendary Gordie Howe (801) but 37 behind Gretzky’s 894.
1,511 points would see him overtake Chicago Blackhawks legend Stan Mikita for 15th all-time points as things currently stand. The likes of Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin still have their own chances at climbing the all-time lists, with Ovechkin not too far away from overtaking Howe’s goalscoring record, and when Matthews finishes his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs, there’s a genuine chance that he should be spoken just as highly as them.
In Toronto, meanwhile, he would be lauded as arguably the greatest Leaf in franchise history and along with his own individual hardware, would hold the most important individual records that will have fans speak of him for generations to come.