Did the Maple Leafs draft the wrong player? Winnipeg Jets fans think so. Maybe they’re right.. A 6’5″ winger who is a pure sniper, who wouldn’t love to have that. I agree that Laine is going to be great, but points aren’t everything in hockey. You have to be a complete player to be great in the NHL, and while Laine has the potential to fill in all his downfalls… Matthews is already showing he has what Laine lacks, and can score at the same pace. Lets break this down.
|15/33||Give aways/ Take aways||37/24|
|530/478||SAT For/Against 5 on 5||441/505|
|+52||Shot attempts +/- 5 on 5||-64|
|0.86||Points per game||0.79|
-Both players are equal in points this season, Matthews has 3 less games played. I’ll call it even and give both players 1 point.
-Plus minus is a hard stat to judge as it has so many variables, but for the sake of the article Laine is better in that stat. Laine gets 1 point
– The give and take aways are where you start to see some difference, Matthews has gave the puck away only 15 times but has taken the puck 33 times. Laine has gave the puck away 37 times and only taken the puck back 24 times. Pretty clear there Matthews has the edge. Matthews gets 2 point. 1 for take and 1 for give aways.
-Shots for and against 5 on 5 is another example of Matthews strong possession numbers and goes well with his turnover +/-. Matthews has 530 shot attempts for vs Laines 441 during 5 on 5 situations. The defensive side of that is Matthews has 478 shot attempts against vs Laines 505 against in 5 on 5 situations. Its pretty clear that Matthews lack of turnovers has helped his line get more offensive chances and have positive possession of the puck. Laine’s -64 for shot attempts puts him almost dead last on the Jets roster. 2 points for Matthews.
-Points per game… I gave credit to both players for scoring 30 points but this is where the difference is. Matthews has done it in 3 less games than Laine. Yes Matthews could not score for 3 games and it be equal, but all his possession stats point to him having a bunch of positive 5 on 5 possession chances, and not to mention power play as well. Matthews gets 1 point.
So a quick tally of the makeshift points i gave, Laine has 2 points and Matthews 6 points. Yes i have a Leaf bias writing this but honestly….. If you cant see the difference not only in offensive stats, take a look at all the advanced stats that show all of the holes in Laines game. It’s quite obvious.
Ok no more points, the last factor is line mates. Laine has played the majority of his minutes with top end talent in Ehlers and Scheifele, who coincidentally have for better advanced stats in the same categories we just covered. Matthews has been playing with 2 rookies who all be it have played very well so far this season. If you take Laine off that line and put Matthews, every single possession, offensive and defensive category for all 3 players get better.
With that being said, I hope Laine turns it up to give Matthews a run. We all know Laine can score and I hope he can make the small changes to his game to become an elite player in this league. At the end of the day both players are still very young and have so much upside. Both are huge, have speed, hands and elite hockey sense. What a promising future for both these Canadian NHL teams.
In conclusion I always say “Does this player help make the team better? Or does he just add to it? Does he help push the team forward? Or is he just dragging the team behind him?” With Auston Matthews he makes the team far better, by elevating the rest of his team and line mates every single night. The growth from players like Hyman and Brown from the start of the season has been exponential. With Laine I say he adds to the firepower the team already has, and at times seems to take away from it with lack luster defensive play. Who will be better next year? In 5 years time? We will find out, but it sure is an exciting thing to be apart of!
Let me low who you think is better!! Comment below or on Facebook, or tweet me @TMLHockeytlk