Auston Matthews and his Head Coach Sheldon Keefe.
Photo credit: TSN

Sheldon Keefe shuts down Auston Matthews' search for 70 goals

Published April 3, 2024 at 1:47 PM

Auston Matthews has already passed 60 goals for the second time in his career, but his search for a historic 70 may be halted by his Head Coach.

On Monday, the Toronto Maple Leafs picked up a key win over the division rival Florida Panthers, and in that game, superstar forward Auston Matthews continued his roll, notching goals No. 61 and 62 on the season. While he was on pace for 80 at one point this season, 70 is still clearly in reach for Matthews, as the team have eight games left for him to notch another eight goals, but unfortunately, things may not work out that way.

While the chase is impressive, Head Coach Sheldon Keefe is clearly not interested in individual goals, as he revealed in an interview that he's going to do what's best for the team, rather than Matthews down the stretch.

«I'm not concerned about 70 goals at all. I'm concerned about having him and our team ready to go for playoffs.» —Sheldon Keefe

This doesn't confirm that Keefe will scratch Matthews late in the season as the playoffs near, but if he believes it will benefit the team and their playoff chase, it's something that he certainly would consider. With Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly still set to come back into the lineup, the team still have plenty of work to do to be prepared for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and while scratching Matthews wouldn't be a popular move, it's one that makes sense.

Ultimately, the chase for 70 would be a great story for Toronto and would be another huge goal scoring accolade for Matthews, but the goal for the Maple Leafs needs to be a Stanley Cup, and if having him sit out a game or two is what Keefe believes is best, it's something that he will confidently do.
April 3   |   504 answers
Sheldon Keefe shuts down Auston Matthews' search for 70 goals

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