Projecting Auston Matthews’ Career If He Is a Lifetime Maple Leaf

Oh, what Auston Matthews might become if he stayed with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the rest of his career. The storied history of the Toronto Maple Leafs has seen some great players suit up for the Blue & White. Some of them include Mats Sundin, Wendel Clark, Doug Gilmour, Dave Keon, Borje Salming, Lanny McDonald, and Darryl Sittler.

Related: Remembering Borje Salming: “King” of Maple Leafs’ Defensemen

But none of these players had the talent or have experienced the scoring success that Maple Leafs’ fans are witnessing from their current first-line center. He’s already set the franchise record in goals scored for a season with 60. But how much better might he become?

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Specifically, how high could Matthews’ point total reach if he stayed with the Maple Leafs not just through his current contract but if he re-signed with the team for another eight years after this contract was over?

Assuming the Most Positive for Matthews and the Maple Leafs

There have been some speculations that Matthews might bolt to another team – specifically to the Arizona Coyotes – when his current contract expired. But, let me take a positive look and speculate what might happen if Matthews stayed in Toronto.

Auston Matthews Toronto Maple Leafs Andrei Vasilevskiy Tampa Bay Lightning
Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning makes a save on Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Assume for the next five minutes that Matthews re-signed and stayed with the Maple Leafs for his next contract; and, also assume that contract was for eight more seasons. Matthews would be 26 years old when his current contract expires at the end of the 2023-24 season. If he signed for eight more with the team, he’d be 34 years old when he ended his second contract.

Related: Adam Oates – Undrafted, Elite Playmaker, Hall of Famer & NHL Best

That would give him, in total, 10 more seasons with the team. Speculating a bit about Matthews’ scoring prowess and assuming no major injuries, how many goals might he be able to score in 10 more seasons with the Maple Leafs? Would averaging 50 goals a season be out of the question? Could he average more? 

Where Does Matthews Currently Stand in Maple Leafs’ Scoring

Currently, Matthews has scored 259 goals in the NHL and has added 198 assists (for 457 total points) in only 407 regular season games with the Maple Leafs. Recently, that’s an average of well over a point a game. There’s no doubt that Matthews is gaining experience and growing savvier on the ice. It’s more than likely he’ll continue the same per-game pace; and, in fact, considering last season, he might increase it.

Auston Matthews Mitch Marner Celebrate Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner Celebrate a Goal (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

For ease of the math and because it’s more than reasonable, let’s assume he can average 50 goals and 50 assists per season. In 10 more seasons, he’ll have a total of 759 goals and 698 assists over his career. Also assuming he can average 70 games a season, he would end up with 1107 games.

Comparing Matthews Scoring with Other Maple Leafs’ Greats

Using my projections, let’s compare Matthews’ scoring with the Maple Leafs’ all-time greats who have scored over 800 points in their career in Toronto.

PlayerGames PlayedGoalsAssistsPoints
Auston Matthews11077596981457
Mats Sundin981420567987
Darryl Sittler844389527916
Dave Keon1062365493858

Looking at where Matthews might be if he stayed with the Maple Leafs until he was 34 years old, it’s quite astounding to see what he might accomplish. He’d shatter Maple Leafs’ scoring records and would almost have 500 more points in 330 more goals and overall scoring from the next person on the list (Mats Sundin with 420 goals and 987 points). 

Interestingly enough, he’d also come within 81 games of George Armstrong’s franchise record for most games as a Maple Leafs. Currently, Armstrong holds that record with 1188 games. 

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There’s little doubt that Matthews would become the greatest ever Maple Leafs’ player if he spends that part of his career here with Toronto.

Comparing Matthews with the NHL’s All-Time Leading Scorers

Obviously, if Matthews left the Maple Leafs for another team, he might do just as well scoring-wise (although the fan in me wonders how that could possibly be true). But, assuming he stayed with the Maple Leafs, how might his scoring exploits look against the best players in NHL history? [Note: obviously, I have not added other current greats into the mix. Those include Connor McDavid, Alex Ovechkin, and Sidney Crosby. They’ll certainly have something to say about the final mix.]

Projecting his scoring into the top for NHL players of all time shows just how close Matthews would be – at just age 34 – sitting with 1457 points. He might never reach the point total of “The Great One.” But he would be getting closer to the top four in the NHL.

PlayerGames PlayedGoalsAssistsPoints
Wayne Gretzky148789419632857
Jaromir Jagr173376611551921
Mark Messier175669411931887
Gordie Howe176780110491850
Auston Matthews1107 759 6981457

Matthews’ Bottom Line In 2032

Should Matthews play the next 10 seasons with the Maple Leafs, projecting his scoring as I have, there’s a genuine chance that he would become the greatest Maple Leafs’ player who ever lived. He’d be spoken about more highly than anyone in Maple Leafs’ history.

Auston Matthews Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Who knows if Matthews is a student of hockey or even what fire he has in his belly to become one of the best NHL hockey players of all time? Given that he’d only be 34 years old when he ended the 2032 season, how many more seasons would he want to continue?

Related: Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews Is Undergoing a Transformation

Right now, what Maple Leafs’ fans see in their young center is someone who could become very special both in terms of where he stands in Maple Leafs’ history but in the history of NHL hockey in general.

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