Will the Maple Leafs Sit Auston Matthews or Let Him Go For 70?

April 15, 2024

As the Toronto Maple Leafs approach the final stretch of the regular season, all eyes are on Auston Matthews and his pursuit of the elusive 70-goal milestone. With just two games remaining before the playoffs, speculation abounds regarding Matthews' playing time and the team's strategy for managing his workload.

Head coach Keefe and the Maple Leafs undoubtedly desired for Matthews to reach the 70-goal mark on home ice, ideally before the final back-to-back games leading into the playoffs. Achieving this would provide an opportunity to afford Matthews some well-deserved rest ahead of the postseason grind. However, fate had different plans, leaving Matthews tantalizingly close at 69 goals.

The question on everyone's mind now is whether Matthews will hit the 70-goal mark and if he'll be rested at some point in the final two games. The scenario hinges on whether Matthews scores against Florida on Tuesday; if he does, it's likely he'll sit out the following game against Tampa Bay to recuperate. However, if he falls short on Tuesday, the consensus is that he'll suit up for Wednesday's game regardless, given the significance of the milestone.

Keefe's recent remarks shed light on the Leafs' current predicament, highlighting the team's roster challenges amidst injuries and salary cap constraints. With players dropping due to injuries, Keefe emphasized the necessity of dressing 18 skaters and the limitations imposed by the salary cap. These factors add complexity to the decision-making process as the Leafs navigate the final games of the season.

Despite the logistical hurdles, the consensus among Leafs fans and pundits is clear: Matthews must be given every opportunity to reach the 70-goal milestone. Anything short of allowing him to pursue this achievement would be a disservice to his remarkable season. As the Leafs prepare for the playoffs, finding the balance between individual milestones and team performance becomes increasingly crucial.

In the coming days, all eyes will be on Matthews as he vies for hockey immortality. Whether he achieves the 70-goal milestone or not, one thing is certain: his impact on the game and the Leafs' aspirations for postseason success cannot be understated. As the regular season draws to a close, the Maple Leafs' quest for playoff glory continues, with Matthews leading the charge towards hockey history.