Matthews, who led all rookies with 40 goals and 69 points, is the first Maple Leaf to win the Calder Memorial Trophy since 1966. The No. 1 pick from the 2016 draft wasted no time making a splash in the NHL, as he also finished second in power-play points, first in game-winning goals, first in shots and third in ice-time among rookie forwards. Matthews -- who would've been eligible for the 2015 draft had he been born just two days earlier -- was well prepared for his rookie season after spending his draft year in the Swiss pro league, and coach Mike Babcock trusted him with significant minutes right away. No one is better in tight corners in the offensive zone than Matthews, who's a threat to shoot and score from anywhere on the ice. The Leafs have a very bright future ahead with Matthews at the helm, as he fell just four goals shy of winning the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league's top goal scorer. He's an elite fantasy option due to his elite scoring skill, which is further buoyed by a cadre of skilled teammates in William Nylander and Mitch Marner.
Matthews will rest up following a long season and sit out the 2017 IIHF World Championship, David Alter of The Athletic reports. For most rookies, an 82-game grind will take its toll -- they're used to much shorter seasons. Add in a six-game playoff run that included five overtime contests, and it makes sense that Matthews is opting to sit out Worlds. The 19-year-old should be the heavy favorite to get the Calder Trophy following a 40-goal, 29-assist campaign in which he helped the Leafs reach the playoffs for the first time in four years. Although no announcement has come out yet, one would imagine the center will be named Toronto's captain prior to the start of the 2017-18 season.
Matthews scored the lone Toronto goal in Sunday's series-ending Game 6 loss to the Capitals. While it was an unfortunate result for the Leafs, Matthews had a terrific playoffs, scoring in four straight games to close out the series. He showed off his wicked hands Sunday with a great move in tight that gave the Leafs the lead in the third period. As the clear favorite for the Calder Trophy, Matthews is a dynamic young hockey player who is destined for great things. He built off a sensational 40-goal regular season with a terrific postseason and will be a top pick in fantasy drafts next season.
Matthews scored Toronto's only goal Friday in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Capitals for Game 5. The Calder Trophy finalist wasted little time tracking down a rebound that originated from a William Nylander shot, driving it home at the doorstep. It's easy to forget that this kid is just 19 years old; he already plays like a star veteran, and increased his playoff numbers to four points (three goals, one assist) heading into Sunday's due-or-die contest at home.
Matthews is Toronto's first Calder Trophy finalist since goalie Felix Potvin was named in 1992-93, the Toronto Star reports. As noted in the report, the Buds haven't enjoyed the services of the league's top rookie since 1966, when forward Brit Selby took home the honors. Matthews continues to revel in the limelight as the first overall pick in the 2016 draft, producing a team-high 69 points (40 goals, 29 assists) in a full regular season, and keeping the Leafs in tight with the Presidents' Trophy-winning Capitals in the active conference quarterfinals. The Calder voting is based on play during the regular season, with Matthews' teammate Mitch Marner -- he had 19 goals and 42 assists in 77 games -- also in consideration for the hardware next to Jets phenom Patrik Laine, who managed 64 points and a plus-7 rating on a team with a minus-7 goal differential. Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski is also in consideration, but Matthews is said to be the odds-on favorite for the Calder.
Rank Among Leaders
Last 7 Games
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