Toronto Maple Leafs star forward Auston Matthews
Photo credit: Forbes

Sheldon Keefe to turn down Auston Matthews' pursuit for 70 goals

Published April 3, 2024 at 4:29 PM

Auston Matthews has surpassed 60 goals for the second time in his career, but his quest for a historic 70 may face a roadblock from his Head Coach Sheldon Keefe.

After a crucial victory against the Florida Panthers on Monday, Matthews added goals number 61 and 62 to his season tally. While initially on pace for 80 goals this season, reaching 70 still seems achievable with eight games remaining. However, Head Coach Sheldon Keefe appears focused on team success over individual milestones.

Keefe emphasized in an interview that his priority is ensuring Matthews and the team are primed for the playoffs rather than chasing personal records.

«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

Although Keefe's statement doesn't confirm benching Matthews as the playoffs approach, it suggests he would consider it if it benefits the team's postseason aspirations. With Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly set to return, the Maple Leafs have adjustments to make before the Stanley Cup Playoffs. While benching Matthews may not be popular, Keefe would do so if it aligns with the team's goals.

While achieving 70 goals would be remarkable for Matthews and Toronto, the ultimate aim for the Maple Leafs is winning the Stanley Cup. If sitting Matthews for a game or two aids that pursuit, Keefe is prepared to make that call confidently.

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Sheldon Keefe shuts down Auston Matthews' search for 70 goals
April 3   |   93 answers
Sheldon Keefe to turn down Auston Matthews' pursuit for 70 goals

Should Sheldon Keefe let Auston Matthews chase 70 goals in 2023-24?

Yes7580.6 %
No1819.4 %
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