The Toronto Maple Leafs superstar forward has been announced as the winner of this year's Hart Trophy awarded to the NHL's Most Valuable Player. It is the first time Matthews has won the award. He beat out the 2020-2021 winner Conner McDavid as well as Igor Shesterkin.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) June 21, 2022
The Maple Leafs star had an amazing season. He posted 60 goals and 46 assists as Toronto amassed one of the best records in hockey. The 115 points Toronto accrued set the franchise mark. His 2021-2022 stats also earned him the Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy as the league's top goal scorer. It was the first time in 10 years that any player scored 60 goals in a season.
Matthews and McDavid actually switched places from last season. The Toronto superstar finished second in the voting in the COVID-shortened season when he scored 41 goals in 52 games. The Oilers' McDavid took home the hardware that time but it was all about Matthews on Tuesday night.
Matthews led the NHL in even strength goals for the third year in a row. The NHL players also awarded him the Ted Lindsay Award given to the Most Outstanding Player.
What Matthews accomplished with Toronto this season was remarkable, especially considering he was coming off of offseason wrist surgery. All body parts are important to a professional athlete's success. But for an elite goal-scorer in the NHL, the wrist is obviously imperative.
Despite the individual success, the Maple Leafs once again fell short of getting out of the first round. It's been almost 20 years since that has occurred. To be fair though, their reward for attaining a franchise-record 115 points was a first round matchup with the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning.