The Toronto Maple Leafs might be flying high this season, but it’s clear Auston Matthews hasn’t been his normal self. Although the numbers are still very solid, the star isn’t shining as he did in 2021-22. Why you ask? Well, it appears Matthews’ production was being hampered by a nagging hand injury after undergoing wrist surgery prior to last season.
Matthews recently admitted he’s dealing with a sore hand but revealed it’s starting to get better. Via The Athletic:
“It was bothering me,” Matthews said. “It just felt like something was off. I just felt like not completely, like I wasn’t able to do exactly what I wanted to at times.”
“I think my hand and everything has been feeling a lot better, just stronger,” Matthews said, acknowledging the nature of that injury for the first time. “So yeah, I’d have to agree with you there. Just shooting it a little bit more fluidly I’d say.”
Auston Matthews still has 31 goals and 36 assists in 2022-23 in 59 games. Those are still big numbers. However, his shooting isn’t as precise as past years, also taking fewer shots per game. Just 12.6 compared to 13.9 last season.
On a more positive note, Matthews looks to be turning a corner and finding his best again. He’s registered six points in his last three games, scoring in all of them and also registering a few assists. That includes going head-to-head with Connor McDavid on March 11th and outdueling him in a 7-4 win for Toronto. Plus, Matthews is letting it fly, compiling 29 shots on goal in his previous four outings.
It looks like the hand is feeling better and that’s good news for the Maple Leafs.