When the Maple Leafs announced Auston Matthews’ name as the first overall pick in the 2016 draft, they knew they were getting a special player. Did the Leafs brass expect the 19-year-old to score nearly 30 goals with more than 20 games remaining in his rookie season? There’s a chance. Matthews’ early success hasn’t come as a surprise to many in the hockey world, but it’s been one entertaining ride so far. Some of Matthews’ goals may have been seen as ‘cheeky’. Other times they may have been deemed too inappropriate for television. Regardless, we’ll show you Auston Matthews‘ best goals of the season so far.
#5 – February 14th, 2017 vs New York Islanders
Auston Matthews is out of this freaking world, Part 34235632543. His 27th of the year, second of the night, 6-1 Leafs. pic.twitter.com/vPoC6GVnuc
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) February 15, 2017
This sequence here demonstrates how Matthews is just as effective without the puck as he is with it. After chasing and stealing the puck from Casey Cizikas to keep the play inside the blue line, Matthews creatively uses his feet along the boards to get the puck to his stick. Forcing a change in possession results in the teenager feeding the puck to Connor Brown and getting it right back for the cross crease goal.
#4 – January 1st, 2017 – vs. Detroit Red Wings
— Marina Molnar (@mkmolnar) January 1, 2017
Not to discredit Matthews for being in the right position to meet the puck at the perfect moment, but this one was more about the event than the goal itself. The Centennial Classic was a memorable roller coaster to any Red Wings or Maple Leafs fans, but Toronto had the last laugh in overtime thanks to Matthews’ second of the game.
#3 – December 19th, 2016 vs. Anaheim Ducks
Auston Matthews meant to do this. One handed deflection puts the Leafs up 1-0. His 15th of the season. pic.twitter.com/9ch0BQKhDZ
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) December 20, 2016
Add it to the list of “Are You Kidding Me?” moments from Auston Matthews. Left alone behind Anaheim’s defense, Matthews does his best Sergei Federov impression with a beautiful one-handed tip-in.
#2 – October 12th, 2016 vs. Ottawa Senators
Matthews 2nd career NHL goal pic.twitter.com/pqKGJBo6hh
— steph (@myregularface) October 12, 2016
Amidst all the goals he scored in his debut (four to be exact), this one takes the cake. The sweetest goal of the bunch starts with Matthews dancing around a couple of Senators players and it ends with him picking Erik Karlsson’s pocket before burying his second career goal. There’s no better way to rekindle a rivalry than a rookie phenom stripping the puck from a two-time Norris Trophy winner in his debut.
#1 – February 19th, 2017 vs. Carolina Hurricanes
Auston Matthews is good at his job. pic.twitter.com/HcEF4alZyg
— Wendel Clarkson (@MuchTruculence) February 20, 2017
From his most uncomfortable position yet, Matthews once again is a human highlight reel. There isn’t much else Phillip Di Giuseppe has to do to stop Matthews from scoring, but somehow being dragged down from behind wasn’t enough. The American rookie somehow finds a way to put it through Cam Ward’s legs while falling in mid-air, making this goal a play of the year candidate. Some might say Matthews resembled a young Michael Flatley.
Bonus Goal – All Star Game
This is a GIF of Auston Matthews scoring a goal from the statue position. pic.twitter.com/COl8RN3sDr
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) January 29, 2017
Either Matthews is already wanting a spot at Legends Row or he is just good at hockey. It’s probably the latter.