Toronto Maple Leafs center Austin Matthews is just a rookie, but he’s having an unforgettable season.
Just 5:01 into the first period, he netted a pretty wrist shot, putting Toronto up 2-0 over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday evening.
The Maple Leafs would go on to win the game by the score of 4-2.
But, that wasn't the most impressive aspect of the contest.
On the season, the 19-year-old Matthews now has 39 goals and 28 assists for 67 points in 78 games played.
With his 39th goal, he set a record for the most-ever goals by an American-born rookie.
In a league that features many Canadian and European goal-scorers, Matthews represents the future of American hockey. Looking back on all of the NHL greats who were American-born like Brett Hull, Mike Modano, Keith Tkachuk and Jeremy Roenick, it makes the record even more special.
Further, Matthews' 67th point of the season broke Toronto’s franchise record formerly held by Neal Broten, who scored 38 goals in 73 games for the Minnesota North Stars in the 1981-1982 season.
Take a look at Matthews' slick goal that set the record:
As you saw, he received the puck in the middle of the ice midway between the blue line and the goal and the rest was history. No defender made a play on the puck despite his proven goal-scoring acumen.
Apparently the Sabres didn't get the memo.
With the two records, Matthews has now has put himself in a great position to receive the Calder Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s rookie of the year.
Winnipeg Jets right winger Patrik Laine is also making a strong case in the Calder Trophy discussion. The 18-year-old has scored 34 goals and posted 28 assists for 62 points in 70 games played.
Considering the historic aspect of the Matthews' campaign, however, there is seemingly a bit of a separation between the two.
Taking nationality out of the equation, Matthews is also just a handful of points behind the NHL’s all-time rookie record, held by a talented Canadian.
He definitely has the chops to get the job done, as five points in four remaining games definitely isn’t out of the question.
The Maple Leafs are now 39-24-15 on the season and are in the midst of a serious run, winning five games in a row and going 8-1-1 in their last 10 games and 11-2-1 over their last 14.
Matthews has singlehandedly transformed the future of the organization and is a role model for young American hockey players everywhere.
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