Fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs were right to be excited when their team won the draft lottery ahead of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. In fact, some may have been more fired up about that than winning the actual lottery.
However, after selecting Auston Matthews first overall, few could have predicted how effective the American’s skills would translate to the NHL.
Now 22 years old, Matthews made franchise history on Wednesday night with his first-period tally against the Winnipeg Jets at Scotiabank Arena.
With that shot, Matthews became the first Maple Leaf to score 30-plus goals in their first four seasons with the team — whether those campaigns began with their NHL debut or otherwise, according to NHL Public Relations.
He is the 15th player in NHL history to score 30 or more in their first four seasons, per NHL Public Relations. Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals is the only other active player on the list.
After scoring 40 in his rookie campaign, the one they call “AM34” found the back of the net 34 times in 62 regular season contests during his sophomore season and 37 times in 68 games last year.
With 30 goals in his first 45 games of 2019-20, Matthews trails only David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins who has 32 twine-ticklers under his belt thus far.
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