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Auston Matthews Leads Rookie Scorers Once Again
- Updated: January 2, 2017
It was a hot start to the season for the 2016 top overall draft pick, Auston Matthews. So hot, in fact, that the rookie of the year candidate scored four goals in his NHL debut against the Ottawa Senators. But after that, Matthews would cool off quickly. He would only score two more goals during his next 18 games, including a streak of 13 games without a goal and only 3 assists during that same stretch.
While Matthews was cool in Toronto, number two overall pick Patrik Laine was torching the league with his goal scoring prowess. At the time, he had many wondering whether or not Toronto should have selected him with the top overall pick in 2016.
Despite the early struggles in his first pro season, Matthews stuck with it. He battled hard and used the same tenacious skills out on the ice that earned him that top pick last Summer. Eventually, the puck started going in again. Lately, it hasn’t been able to stop either.
Since November 23rd, Matthews has tallied 12 goals over the course of 17 games. During the same span, he has 19 points and has fought his way back to the top of the pack when it comes to rookie scorers. His 20 goals on the season not only lead all rookies, but tie him with Jeff Carter for second in the league. Matthews and Carter trail only Sidney Crosby who has 26 goals this season.
For the rest of the season, it will be a fierce competition between Matthews and Laine for the rookie scoring lead. But for now, Matthews appears to have earned the respect of his NHL peers, and the challenge that lies ahead will continue to grow.