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Toronto Maple Leafs 2023-24 Report Card: Auston Matthews – Hockey Writers – Toronto Maple Leafs

Auston Matthews' 2022-23 season, compared to previous seasons, was somewhat disappointing. He scored “only” 40 goals and 85 points, which, despite being at the top of the league production numbers, was below his previous seasons in almost every aspect of his game. This season, Matthews wanted to go back. Suffice it to say he accomplished that goal and then some.

Regular Season

The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Matthews' regular season is that he was one goal away from becoming the ninth player in NHL history and the first since 1992-93 to score 70 goals in a single campaign. He stayed in the same position before the last two games of the season but was unable to score in those games. Still, he easily surpassed 100 points, dishing out 38 assists on his 69 goals for a total of 107 points.

His base stats, as we've become accustomed to, were top-notch as well. For the fifth consecutive season, his 5v5 expected goal share (xGF%) exceeded 55%. This season, the Maple Leafs have managed 56.04% of expected goals while on the ice. While not playing like his 64.00% season in 2021-22, he was one of the best in the league, ranking first on the Maple Leafs and 31st in the league among players with at least 900 5v5 minutes. Matthews' high-danger chances (HDCF%) are also in line with expectations he's set for himself in recent years, with Toronto managing 58.78% of high-danger chances while on the ice.

Auston Matthews Microstat Player Card (JFresh)

Relative to the past two seasons, Matthews' offensive metrics have dipped slightly, with his expected goals per 60 (xGF/60) dropping to 3.16, a significant drop from 3.54 and 3.61 in the two most recent campaigns. For that, his man expected 60 goals (ixG/60), or the number of goals he had expected points per 60 minutes, was the second-highest mark of his career at 1.31 – that number ranked him fourth in the NHL. His defensive game was slightly better than last season, and the goals were expected against with 60 (xGA/60) improving from 2.61 to 2.48. To be honest, none of this indeed important when putting together a 69-goal season.

Related: Toronto Maple Leafs 2023-24 Report Card: Mitch Marner

In his brilliant 2023-24 came a number of award nominations and victories. Unsurprisingly, Matthews took home the Maurice Rocket Richard Trophy easily, scoring 12 more goals than second place finisher, Sam Reinhart. In addition, Matthews was a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy as a testament to his incredible defensive play – he placed third in that voting behind Aleksander Barkov and Jordan Staal. He is also a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy, a measure of a player's skill and “gentlemanship,” and the Ted Lindsay Award, which is a variant of the Hart Trophy but voted on by other members of the NHLPA.

2023-24 regular season grade: A+

Playoffs games

Admittedly, it's very difficult to judge Matthews' performance given that he didn't have one, but a few obstacles to his ability to participate: he played badly in Game 3 of the series before team doctors pulled him midway through Game 4 for a concussion. of his illness and hitting the best thing that made him unable to play in the next two games.

Still, in the five games he appeared in, he was good, especially considering how he might have been playing under physical pressure. He finished the streak with four points – one goal and a team-leading three assists – in five games. At 5v5, the Maple Leafs controlled 51.17% of xG and 56.25% of high-danger chances. He was eighth and third on the team in those metrics, respectively. He had the fourth highest xGF/60 on the team (3.19). Despite the poor result, despite playing injured and sick, Matthews showed his best, and even became the hero of Game 2. If he had played full life in Games 3 and 4, I do not see why that series did not reach victory.

2024 playoff bracket: B

Matthews Looks To Repeat Performance Next Season

While the playoffs weren't what any of us were hoping for this season, Matthews should be looking to bounce back in 2023-24 next season. It's naive to expect another nearly 70-goal season, but considering he's broken the 60-goal mark twice in the last three years, I wouldn't call it too much of a stretch either. If he can do that while spreading the defensive dominance he's had over the past two seasons, there's no reason he can't win the Hart Trophy in 2024-25.

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