Auston Matthews Hart Trophy favorite, could be first Leafs player to win since 1955

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As the season winds down, Auston Matthews continues to make the Hart Trophy picture for NHL MVP clearer.

The Hart Memorial Trophy is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, and is presented “to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team.”

Matthews was a finalist last season, but lost out to Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers.

Auston Matthews MVP season

The last Toronto Maple Leafs player to record a 50-goal season was Hall of Famer Dave Andreychuk, who scored 53 in 1993-94. Rick Vaive, who had three 50-goal seasons for Toronto, set the team record with 54 goals in 1981-82.

On April 7, Matthews etched his name in Leafs’ lore by scoring goals 55 and 56. The first tally broke the tie with Vaive and the second was the OT winner over the Dallas Stars.

After making Leafs history, Matthews was humble and wanted to focus on the team’s ultimate mission of winning the Stanley Cup.

“The names that have come before us, just to be in the same breath as some of these guys, it’s extremely humbling,” Matthews said. “It’s a big honor. This feels really nice, but we’re working towards something bigger than this. It’s a nice steppingstone, but there’s work to be done.”

Auston Matthews Hart Trophy Odds

toronto maple leafs
Nov 28, 2021; Anaheim, California, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) shoots on goal against Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (36) during the second period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Matthews, 24, has added two more tallies since to bring his season totals to 58 goals. In 67 games this season, he has 99 points and is leading per oddsmakers for the Hart Trophy.

Hart Trophy Odds per Vegas Insider:

  • Auston Matthews (Toronto) -160
  • Connor McDavid (Edmonton) +280
  • Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida) +1000
  • Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary) +1400
  • Igor Shesterkin (N.Y. Rangers) +1800

If Matthews can take home the honors, he will be the first Toronto Maple Leafs player since Ted Kennedy in 1955 to do so. That season, Kennedy potted 52 points in 70 games to win the award.

With the way Matthews has been scoring goals, it will be extremely tough to not vote for him. Starting on November 24, 2021 which constitutes his last 50 games, Matthews has potted 51 goals. He had 7 in his first 17 games to start the year.