Auston Matthews didn’t really experience many jitters as he played in his first preseason game with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He credited his World Cup experience in part for getting over nervousness.
While he failed to generate a point in Toronto’s 3-2 overtime win against the Montreal Canadiens, he got his bearings and made some moves.
He certainly seemed to make an impression on TSN’s Jonas Siegel, who raved about “speed, power, and skill all wrapped up in one.”
You could see flashes of that top-pick-brilliance in moments like these:
It’s early, but perhaps Mike Babcock will play the role of Bill Parcells insisting on people “putting away the anointing oil.” NHL.com notes this bit of criticism that seems to boil down to style vs. substance.
“They tried passing a lot at the net. What I saw tonight is we have a different skillset than we had last year, but we don’t know how to play yet,” Babcock said. “We were perimeter and light at times and we didn’t want to attack the net. It felt like we were handing out points for stickhandling and not shooting and not getting on the inside.”
Hey, just because Matthews already looks comfortable out there at times doesn’t mean that this won’t be a work in progress.