NHL Awards Rankings: New No. 1 in MVP race

This week, a familiar name joins the race for MVP. Where does Connor McDavid rank after a ridiculous run for himself and the Edmonton Oilers?

Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) looks to make a move.
Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) looks to make a move. / Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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4. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs

One might think that Auston Matthews is here because he leads the league in goals, but it is so much more than that. Nineteen goals aside, Auston Matthews is playing like one of the best players in the league. It's been very chaotic in Toronto this season, but somehow that really isn't the conversation. Other disappointing teams are getting more talk, and that's because of the Matthews impact. His 19 goals are matched in impact by his 21:30 of ice time every night. He's playing more on a team desperate to hold one of the few Eastern Conference playoff spots that are up for grabs.

Matthews is here for his finishing ability, but he's also here because he is elite at creating high-danger chances for himself and for his teammates. While his nine assists don't appear to be doing that, that's an issue with his teammates more than anything. He has 43 individual high-danger chances at 5v5. Only Zach Hyman and Anders Lee have more (which are two very random names).

He's also doing it on the other side of the ice. He has 27 takeaways, fifth in the league. Matthews has drawn six penalties and taken none. He is a net positive on every shift. When mixing that with the shifts he absolutely dominates,

The Maple Leafs will always get a ton of coverage. They are the Leafs. Matthews is carrying his line, which includes the great William Nylander and rookie Matthew Knies. He's playing at an MVP level, and he deserves to be recognized for it.