Auston Matthews just put an exclamation point on his Hart Trophy campaign.
On Tuesday, the Maple Leafs center scored twice to become the first American-born player in NHL history to reach 60 goals in a season.
Matthews is a near-lock (-350) to become the second U.S.-born player to win the league’s MVP since the trophy was first handed out in 1924 (Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane in 2016).
- The 24-year-old leads the NHL in goals (60), even-strength goals (44), and shots (348) in 73 games.
- Matthews is the third active player in the last 30 years with a 60-goal season (Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos).
- He is the first 60-goal scorer in Leafs history and the 21st in NHL history.
- He equaled the franchise record with 15 multi-goal games in a season (Rick Vaive, 1983-84).
In 2019, Toronto locked in Matthews with a five-year, $58 million contract — with the NHL’s third-highest cap hit ($11.6M) — banking that he would lead the team to its first Stanley Cup since 1967.
The Leafs could be closing in on that feat having clinched second place in the Atlantic Division and secured home-ice advantage in the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In its history, Toronto has won 22 of 29 best-of-seven series that began on home ice.
The Original Six team has the fourth-best odds (+900) to capture the Cup.