Auston Matthews named Decembers Rookie of the Month

The NHL has announced that Auston Matthews has been named December’s rookie of the month. After recording 12 points in 12 December contests, Matthews was hands down the leagues best freshman. Of the three times the Rookie of the month honours has been handed out this year, two of them have been Leafs, with Willie Nylander taking home the rookie of the month honours in October. 

Over the last few months we’ve seen Matthews exceed rookie-season expectations and quickly evolved in to a two-way dominant centre. The thing about Matthews is, even when he wasn’t scoring so well in November and when he wasn’t getting the hype and dazzle like Mitch Marner and Patrik Laine, he was still being a very effective player, people just don’t notice the little things.

Because of those little things that Matthews does so well, he could be overlooked at times. But after the offensive explosion Matthews had in December, there’s no overlooking the talent of Auston Matthews. 

Matthews’ case for the Calder Trophy is only getting stronger. He leads all rookies in goals ( 20) and points      (32) while becoming Toronto’s most effective and important player. His defensive strengths continue to be shown and he’s already got a superstar trait– the ability to make those around him better.

If Matthews keeps this up, he could be in store for one of the best rookie seasons, ever. The Arizona native is on pace for 46 goals which has only been done by six rookies in NHL history. Not to mention the fact he’s on pace for 39 even strength goals. 

Who would have expected that Auston Matthews, not Patrik Laine, would lead rookies in goal scoring halfway through the year?

Not many people, if anyone. 

Praise from around the league

“He’s got a skill set that allows him to do things that a lot of other people can’t do.” Said Matthews teammate Morgan Reilly.” “But on top of that, he’s got a good brain. He works hard. And he’s playing with good teammates. It’s all kind of unfolding for him in a good way. We have lots of faith it’s going to roll the way it is.” 

But it’s not just Matthews’ teammates that have been providing words of praise. 

“He’s a pretty dynamic young player.” said Anaheim Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. “The thing I noticed about him is the strentgth he has around the puck- nobody seems to be able to pull the puck away from him. He can make moves inside ( and) outside and he’s only 19 years old. And I’m going: That kid’s got a bright future.” 

  • Harte of a Lion

    It’s still hard to believe we have a superstar, potentially the second best young player in the NHL and possibly the most well rounded. I keep pinching myself every time I watch Matthews, Marner and Nylander and it’s not a dream, all three are still Leafs and I’ve got bruises on my (__i__). William Nylander *who might not be a superstar but has the talent to become a top 10 centre in the NHL. He has offensive gifts comparable to Marner’s (less vision, better shot) however as he becomes comfortable within Babcock’s systems and proficient in the faceoff circle, can become our bonafide #2 centre. Nylander between Marner and Kapanen/Leipsic might be an unstoppable line with speed to burn and a world class pest. (the officials and TV camera crews will never keep up)
    With Matthews, Nylander, Kadri and Gauthier at centre, the Leafs are as strong as any team in the league. I hope Freddy continues to develop. I remember watching him at the beginning of 2015 with the Marlies and that his skating was ‘clumsy’ and, that Nonis screwed the pooch with the pick. As the season progressed, (I attended about 20 games plus playoffs and watched every other that was on Leafs TV) the most noticeable thing about any of the players was ‘the Goat has learned to skate…WOW’! Thank you Barb Underhill. She turned an albatross into an eagle. The Goat can fly and do it with the puck on his stick. He was “bar down” the most improved Marlies player.
    Lastly, the comparisons have begun. Matthews vs McDavid with a number of Leafs bloggers leading the charge. Is Matthews having a better rookie season than McDavid did last year over the first 37 games? The stats say yes in some categories and no in others. What is fact is that Matthews is having a greater impact on his team’s success than McDavid did last year. I have no doubt that Connor McDavid is the most dynamic offensive player to be drafted since Crosby however he needs to develop on both sides of the puck if he wants to hold the title “Worlds Best Player”. This is the hockey fan talking, not the Leafs fan. McDavid can do things at full speed that most hockey players don’t dream of, most can’t do them at 1/2 speed, and will be the scoring champion for years to come but with McLellan as his coach, he continues to be lacking on the defensive side of the game. He continuously cheats on most plays leaving his own zone with no repercussions from the coach. Is that McDavid? Does he feel that his only contribution to the Oilers winning is him filling the net? If that is his own thought process then blame it on coaching or lack of coaching.
    IMO, if Babcock was his coach, he could/should/would become the best player since Gretzky but unfortunately he will need to learn from McLellan.
    Hockey/Leafs fans, Did I die a little bit when we lost the draft lottery on the last ball? Yes.
    Was I reborn when we drafted Matthews? Hell yeah!
    Am I biased? Probably.
    Would I trade McDavid straight up for Matthews? Such a moronic question but I’ve seen it mentioned in comment sections and Fuck yeah I would. With Babcock as his coach we are talking the worlds best player next year. (Although McDavid didn’t score 4 his first game)
    I doubt Matthews will ever score more than McDavid yet when it’s down to game 7, there is no room on the ice to skate and each shift resembles the movie ‘SLAPSHOT’ more than today’s NHL, I might lean towards Matthews as the player I send over the boards.
    ps: For all you Oilers fans who want to rip me a new one, I’m not dissing your superstar, I’m just speculating McLellan might not be the best teacher for McDavid to become the worlds best centre.

    • DukesRocks

      Holy Harte, a lot here to digest. Agree with most everything you are saying, and kudos giving Barb props with her work with the Leafs. While I would rather have Babs at the Leaf’s coach, McLellan is one of the best in the league. Mcdavid is in good hands. The problem with the Oilers and McLellan has stated this numerious times is: Every Oiler is too busying watching and relying on McDavid to make things happen, they forget they have a job to do. Edmonton this year should make the playoffs finally, however, I’m with you if Babs was coaching the Oilers, they would be an absolute terror. Maybe Babs has a method to his madness when it come to teaching. I for one, when I listening to his interviews find his though process to be sorta abstract, like he’s talking in riddles… yet, I get his point clear as a bell. Weird to say the least.

    • Harte of a Lion

      Can Mitch have a 15+ point month? He has the abilities but with JVRozak holding him back I’m not certain it is achievable. Not certain which trophy the kid enjoyed more in this photo op, Luke you know my choice. Is her left hand holding the trophy or is Marner smiling because she is holding his trophy?

  • GLewi

    Over 1/3 of the Leaf’s scoring points have come from rookies! Finally it looks like Leaf fans have a team they can cheer for. Here is hoping that the Leafs will be able to keep their talented group of youngsters together and fight for a Cup in the near future. If only the management is smart enough to keep them together.

  • LukeWarmWater

    To quote Wilson Pickett and his number one hit in 1965, “I’m gonna wait till the midnight hour”, which in the big smoke occurs in 8 minutes. That being the case, I look forward to reading about another highly entertaining game that saw the leafs get a point against the Caps to gain 9 out of 10 available points in their last five road games. So obviously I’ll read the story with just the facts mam tomorrow.

    KInd of ironic to quote Alanis Morrisette that it is now the poor cousins of the leafs, the Raptors who are really starting to take some heat as the Raptor Republic has their story hot off the press in 5 minutes. BOOM just like that. Seems that a little Globe and Mailitis is occurring in here.

    • LukeDaDrifter

      I have to agree with you here Luke. I am not sure why Jeff always decides to upload the post game long after the game is played. Our last game was posted right away and there were around 50 comments. When there is such a long gap from post game to post game article most end up reading it sometime the next day. By then everyone has calmed down and are on to the next sports news story.