Matthews received praise from alumni of Maple Leafs after winning Hart Trophy

The 24-year-old center joined forces with Babe Pratt (1943-44) and Ted Kennedy (1954-55) to win the award. Matthews set a record for the Maple Leafs this season and won the Rocket Richard Trophy after leading the NHL with 60 goals.

Mats Sunden, their all-time leader in goals (420) and points (987), said he feels Matthews may one day beat both of those records. Sunden, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012, offered his congratulations to Matthews in a personal message from Sweden via on Tuesday for winning the Hart Cup and also Ted Lindsay AwardAwarded annually to the most outstanding player in the NHL as voted by the members of the NHL Players Association.

“Auston, Mats Sunden is here. I just want to congratulate you on a great season,” said Sunden in an audio message relayed by to Matthews. “Being with the Maple Leafs for the past few years, I have been watching you play and you develop as a player. Congratulations for winning the best prize I think is in hockey with the Hart Cup. What a great achievement. Good luck in the future. Hope to see you on the road. Congratulations” .

Matthews smiled when he heard Sunden’s message after the awards were presented.

“This is very cool,” he said. “Mats is a legend. Hearing something like that is special and humbling.”

Video: Jackie and Auston win the Hart Cup

Matthews has 457 points (259 goals, 198 assists) in 407 appearances for the Maple Leafs since Toronto picked him as No. 1 in the 2016 NHL Draft and entered the peak of his career.

“The sky is his limit,” said Sunden.

The question is, will he become the greatest player in Maple Leafs history? This is one of the issues discussed at a roundtable of Toronto legends Sundin and fellow Hockey Hall of Fame members Daryl Settler, Lanny MacDonald and Borg Salming as well as favorite Wendell Clark.

Setler is second in the list of goals (389) and points. Salming is their leader in assists (620). Clark occupies fourth place in the number of powerful goals played (79), behind Sundin (124), Setler (120), Rick Fife (90), and third in penalty kicks minutes (1535). McDonald’s is one of the most famous maple leaves of all time, thanks to its lightning-fast release and distinctive curly mustache.

First, your reaction to Matthews winning the Hart Cup?

Setler: “Obviously anyone who has scored 60 goals stands out for sure. It’s been a fantastic year. What’s really impressive is seeing the way he’s grown as a player. He’s as stubborn now in the defensive zone as he is in the offensive zone.”

McDonald: “He helped pull this team as high up the rankings as possible. You couldn’t be more proud of his place as a player. When you look at Auston and Conor McDavidThe two have now learned in the very short time of being in the league what it would take and how to use their bodies more effectively to protect the disc, to kick people out of the disc, and to be that complete player they are now.”

Clark: I mean, if you look at the history of the franchise, I mean, it takes a team to win the Stanley Cup, but Hart is the highest individual honor you can get as a player. Great for the team and even bigger for the fans. There’s a great generation of young players in the game right now, and he It is at the top of the list.

Are you surprised that Matthews is the third Maple Leafs player to win the Hart Cup?

Follow: “There have been a lot of great players who have worn the Maple Leafs jersey, and a lot of it depends on what kind of seasons the other players are going through. If you were playing in the Wayne Gretzky era (1979-99), for example, you could put in good numbers and you wouldn’t be Good enough. Guys like Dave Keon, Daryl, and Dougie Gilmore, they’ve had some great seasons for the Leafs, and that shouldn’t be forgotten.”

Setler: “Look back at the era I played in (1970-1985), I thought Borg should have won Norris’s title as best defender in the league at least once because that’s what I thought. But when you play simultaneously with Bobby Orr, well… I agree it’s about timing. Same with Hart. Dave Keon is one of the all-time greats; he played at a time (1960-1982) when Jean Bellevue and Bobby Hall were there too. Whatever happened in the past, Auston deserves it.”

Did the Maple Leafs’ lack of success erode his legacy? He still hasn’t featured on a team that won the Stanley Cup Series in his six seasons in the National Hockey League.

McDonald: “Look, not everything should be put on his shoulders. It’s unfair. Hockey is a team sport. At the same time, you’re creating a legacy in the playoffs. That’s when people watch. That’s where you make legends.”

Setler: “Qualifying is a different animal. There’s a little bit of ice there, the screening is tighter, and the goals are hard to achieve. Once that hurdle is crossed, I think success will come.”

Clark: “The core is there. They’ve come close. There are no excuses. But when you look at the core of this team, there is a lot to like. A lot of talent. I think they’re almost done. Once they do that hack, I think there will be a different narrative.”

After all is said and done, does Auston have a chance of being the greatest player in Maple Leafs history?

Setler: “He has the talent. But like I said, when it’s all said and done, the playoffs push you to the next level. If that happens, sure.”

Follow: “If he stays healthy and stays in Toronto, sure. You have to avoid injuries, you have to be with the same team for a long time. But why wouldn’t you want to play in Toronto? The fans support you a lot. There is no better place to play. With his speed, his shot, his talent and now The way his game ended, there’s nothing stopping him.”

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