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Auston Matthews: more goals than Ovechkin after 511 regular-season games

For many years, the title of the National Hockey League’s best free-shooter has gone to Russian legend Alexander Ovechkin.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that from the moment he entered the NHL in 2005, the Washington Capitals’ No. 8 became the NHL’s best maverick.

It’s not for nothing that Ovi is rumoured to be perhaps the last player in history to come close to Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goalscoring record of 894.

Yet another NHL maverick could very well approach that record one day if he continues to score goals at a blistering pace.

I’m talking about Auston Matthews.

Number 34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs has been scoring goals like nobody’s business since he arrived in the NHL in 2016.

He’s probably the best shot in the league, and has been for a few years now.

You’re probably going to tell me, though, that Matthews isn’t even close to Ovechkin in terms of goal production, but here’s a stat I saw this morning that completely stunned me.

Yes, yes, Matthews has more goals after 511 NHL regular-season games than Ovechkin had after the same number of games back in the day.

It’s pretty impressive that Matthews is on a 12-goal winning streak over Ovechkin, but nobody’s really talking about it.

It’s as if the Leafs’ maverick is underestimated, even though he’s on track for a historic goal-scoring season.

He could hit the 70-goal plateau if he keeps this up.

With his two goals yesterday, he leads the NHL in goals at the Christmas break with 28 in 30 games. This is the first time since Jaromir Jagr in 1996-1997 that a player has scored more than 27 goals after 30 games.

He has four more goals than his closest pursuer, Brock Boeser.

Looking at this list, barring injury, Matthews is already in a very good position to win the Maurice Richard trophy awarded to the top scorer of the regular season.

Matthews is scoring goals at a furious pace, and I’m seriously beginning to think he’ll one day come close to Wayne Gretzky’s goal-scoring record.

Only Mike Bossy (0.76) and Mario Lemieux (0.75) have averaged more goals per game than Auston Matthews (0.73) since 1967.

That’s a pretty impressive stat again, and it further strengthens the argument that Matthews could be closing in on Gretzky, already scoring goals at a better rate than Alex Ovechkin after 511 regular-season games.

In short, we may be looking at the NHL’s all-time leading scorer, unfortunately in Toronto.

In a gust

– Elias Lindholm would be a good fit with the Bruins.

– Coming soon.

– Amazing.

– Brock Faber is indeed impressive.

– No worse gift.

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