Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Photo credit: Sporting News

Sheldon Keefe will disrupt Matthews 70-goal chase to prep for playoffs

Published April 3, 2024 at 3:18 PM

While Auston Matthews is chasing a historic 70 goal season, his Head Coach Sheldon Keefe may have different plans ahead of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In their latest win over the Florida Panthers, No. 34 had another incredible performance by tallying goals 61 and 62 on the season, and with 70 firmly in sight, fans will be cheering him on every step of the way. Unfortunately, he may not get the chance to chase down that number however, as Sheldon Keefe has now opened up on Matthews' chase to 70, revealing that he's going to put the teams playoff needs ahead of the historic run.

«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

While this comment certainly doesn't signal that Keefe will 100% healthy scratch Matthews down the stretch, it certainly suggests the potential however, but with playoff seeding on the line depending on other results, Keefe may be forced to play his full strength team. That team should become even more full strength in the next week with the potential returns of both Morgan Rielly and Mitch Marner, with Keefe having some big decisions to make.

Given that both have missed significant time recently, Keefe needs to decide whether or not the team need time together to gel ahead of the playoffs, or whether health and rest is more important. If he does decide to bench Matthews, it could turn out to be a masterstroke, but given all of the pressure on this team, any decision he makes could backfire unless this team have a deep run.

For now though, all NHL fans, even ones that don't like the Maple Leafs should gear up for a historic chase from Auston Matthews, and whether or not it's the right move for the team, it would be hard to not be disappointed if he decided to take Matthews out of the lineup with 70 goals firmly in reach.
April 3   |   157 answers
Sheldon Keefe will disrupt Matthews 70-goal chase to prep for playoffs

Should Sheldon Keefe scratch Auston Matthews to keep him healthy for the playoffs?

Yes7950.3 %
No7849.7 %
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