Come on, did you think it would be anyone else?
Since the day he was selected first overall in the 2016 NHL draft, Auston Matthews has been the face of the Leafs through every triumph and heartbreak. He set the tone for a new era in his first game by scoring four goals in an overtime loss and then proceeded to smash franchise records and add to his trophy cabinet. Toronto’s hockey team has been a competitive bunch for the last half-decade thanks in no small part to the play of the guy who was recently named to represent his country in the 2022 Olympics.
Of course, there is the caveat that all five years have ended in the same outcome and no clear signs that things are going to change for the better. Matthews has certainly proven his ability to turn up his game in the playoffs more often than not, but he is fresh off his worst showing yet and, alongside Mitch Marner, was the face of the team’s most recent collapse. So for better or for worse, the Leafs will only go as far as Matthews can take them, and that remains the case this time around …
Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation