In the three seasons in which Vaive managed 50 or more goals in Toronto, 25 different players reached the 50-goal mark. Sure, it was wonderful to score 50, it just wasn’t unusual the way it is now.
The same was true when Gary Leeman scored his 51 for Toronto, followed by the 53 that Dave Andreychuk managed in 1994. Andreychuk was one of nine 50-goal scorers that season; Leeman was one of eight in 1990.
By comparison, there have been eight 50-goal scorers in the past 12 NHL seasons. That’s all. And most of them are named Ovechkin. While there used to be eight almost every season, there haven’t been more than three since 2006.
All of which makes Auston Matthews’ numbers — this season, last season, the season before that — all the more breathtaking. He is scoring more than any Toronto player in history at a time when scoring is terribly difficult.