If you’re a Maple Leafs fan, then you are no stranger to Austin Matthews. Selected first overall in the 2016 draft, our favourite hockey team drafted a leader who would become a Toronto fan favourite over the last two seasons. No Leafs fan will forget how the rookie made the play that assisted the Maple Leafs in making the playoffs for the first time since 2004. But how did this rookie come to be one of hockey’s most revered players? Let’s take an inside look into the profile of Austin Matthews: Toronto’s saviour.
Matthews quickly gained attention from NHL scouts when he finished first in the USHL league scoring 116 points and breaking the National Team Development Program record. This incredible performance would get him well deserved attention and award him the USA Hockey Bob Johnson award for excellence. Matthews also quickly became a Team USA star, leading the US to win gold in 2014 and 2015 at the U18 Worlds, while leading the tournament in scoring and being named MVP in 2015.
Before Matthews could become eligible for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, he decided to play for the Swiss National League as opposed to amateur US hockey or Canadian junior leagues. And what a great decision it was. With the ZSC Lions, he was able to develop his skills even further to become the second-best scorer in the league. He then quickly rose to the top of every team’s wish list when receiving the award for the league’s top rookie in 2016, the NLA Youngster of the Year award, and being named the first pick of the NHL draft.
After being drafted by the Leafs, Matthews was given a shot to prove himself during the first game of the season against the Ottawa Senators in 2016. That day he not only proved himself but he quickly became a star. He scored four goals in that game, shocking everyone, and quickly became the most popular player on the team. His jersey would go on sale the next day to become the highest selling sweater in the league.
With the Leafs, ++Matthews quickly rose to become an unstoppable 6-foot-2 force on the ice. In just the 2016/2017 season he would finish the year off with 40 goals, the second most in the entire league. Also, crowning him the second rookie since 2004-05 to reach this honour.
The Maple Leafs hadn’t made playoffs in years, and the fans were finally feeling like there was a shot in reach. Then it happened, Matthews made a play that assisted the Leafs in
making the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Even though the Leafs couldn’t beat the Washington Capitals to move on from the first round, his performance did not go unnoticed. Matthews has rewarded the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s best rookie, making him officially Toronto’s hockey savior.
The Austin Matthews story doesn’t end there; he’s back at it again this 2017/2018 season, stronger than ever. Catch all the action and cheer on Austin Matthews and your favourite Toronto Maple Leaf players at Rally Sports Bar. We have mouth-watering smoky BBQ favourites, delicious drinks, enthusiastic fans, and 40 screens, so you never miss a second. We are your Maple Leafs headquarters come game night, so head on over to Rally Sports Bar & Smokehouse!