Two of hockey’s superstars will square off Monday night in Toronto as Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers face Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs (6:30 p.m. ET on TSN 4).
Any time you get a head-to-head matchup between players of this calibre, it is must-see television.
Both players were top draft picks – McDavid went first overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, and Matthews followed up as the first-overall pick in the following year – and have taken the league by storm.
No player has racked up points better than McDavid (151 goals and 286 assists) since he entered the league, and absent the superhuman Alexander Ovechkin, no player has scored more goals than Auston Matthews (139) since he entered the league.
In many ways, they’re mirror images of one another. McDavid is a better skater, and Matthews may have a better shot, but when it comes to players of this skill level you are ultimately splitting hairs. That’s why these two stars – along with Sabres captain Jack Eichel – are such fascinating discussion points for how we value individual contributions, and how reliant even hockey’s greatest players are on their supporting cast.
Knock Toronto all day long for their postseason futility, but the Maple Leafs have qualified for the playoffs every single year (averaging 100 points per 82-game season) since Matthews pulled on the blue and white sweater.