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Generational Conversation: Auston Matthews By the Numbers

It’s a lot closer than some might think so far. Will it keep up?

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The ongoing debate beyond even Chicago Blackhawks fans are taking into account the expectations for Connor Bedard. The situations are different with every generational player before him but the expectations remained the same. Justify the hype. No one had to remind Auston Matthews of that when he was taken first overall.

Seven years after that, Matthews has started absolutely on fire with two consecutive hat tricks to kick off the season. He and the Toronto Maple Leafs welcome Bedard and the Blackhawks tonight, seeking a third straight victory.

But how did Matthews look in his first season by the numbers? Since Bedard will be judged by output, we’ll stick there for now. A little bit of measure from the first week of the season all the way to the midpoint. We’ll revisit this throughout the year but it’s certainly something worth looking at.

Auston Matthews Rookie Season Through 40 Games

The Maple Leafs were much further long in their rebuild and Matthews joining the team made them a playoff team, which they accomplished that season. With a little more talent comes a little more production. In Bedard’s first three games, he had an assist, a goal, and an assist respectively. Matthews?

  • Game 1: Four goals against Ottawa (Loss)
  • Game 2: No points against Boston (Win)
  • Game 3: One assist against Winnipeg (Loss)

Five points (4-1) in three games, slightly better with some more skilled linemates around him. How did the final two games of the first five play out?

  • Game 4: One goal against Minnesota (Loss)
  • Game 5: Two assists against Chicago (Loss)

In his first five games, he tallied eight points (5-3). The Leafs were 1-1-3 in that span. Bedard has been a point-per-game so far and the Hawks are 1-2. Pretty close.

How does it look further out?

  • After 10 games – 10 points (6-4); (Record: 3-4-3)
  • After 20 games – 16 points (8-8); (Record (8-8-4)
  • After 30 games –  23 points (14-9); (Record 12-11-7)
  • After 41 games – 37 points (21-16); (Record 20-13-8)

Final Takeaways

He lived up to the hype.  Matthews would go on to score 40 goals, which means he collected 19 in his final 41 games. He’d end the season with 69 points and while not at a point-per-game pace, he still potted 40 and walked away with the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s best rookie.

Matthews is more of a pure scorer than Bedard and while the latter will rack up the assists, that’s not to sneeze at his goal scoring. Looking at his release and how it could very well generate more chances for his linemates, that will only ratchet up the opportunity for assists, too.

The major takeaway here is that Matthews, who’s currently on a torrid pace, lived up to his hype even though he wasn’t as a point-per-game pace. He was playing on a team that was built to start making playoff pushes and already we can see that as the season progressed, so too, did the wins.

Much will be said about Bedard and the expectations of being generational and backing it up will follow him. But as cool as his demeanor has been, so too should expectations. Using Matthews first few games and then his first 41 as a gauge, Bedard is right where he should be.

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