At just 23 years old, Auston Matthews has already established himself as one of the best players in the NHL.
Since being selected No. 1 overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2016 draft, Matthews has made four All-Star Game appearances and won the Calder Memorial Trophy. He currently leads the league in goals scored with 39.
Before putting the finishing touches on a fantastic regular season next week, Matthews sat down with B/R to answer fan questions about everything from playing in Toronto, his dream top line, starting his own NFT collection and more.
@SgtObilly Who has the strangest pregame rituals on the Leafs?
Jason Spezza, after on-ice warmups, he gets fully undressed and does another warmup in-between warmups and the first period. Taking off your full gear and warming up again is not something I would do.
@Dana_Grey What made you start your own NFT collection and what's your take on the movement itself?
I'd say my take is it's pretty interesting, but I think it's just something I wanted to look into and just experiment. I would like to think I'm a pretty artistic guy so I kind of like that stuff. I was pretty excited with how they came out.
@STLBluesBR If you could create a line to play on with anyone in the league (including 2 defensemen), who would make the cut?
Myself, McDavid and Patrick Kane as the two guys on the forward line. At D, Roman Josi and Victor Hedman.
@TheTonyRomo What do you think about Team USA's chances in the Olympics next year?
I really like them. A lot of really good young talent. Fortunately, I've been able to play with a lot of guys that might make the team. I think it will be just an amazing experience to get to play in the Olympics and be in that kind of environment.
@therealGM How important is it to you that you're Hispanic hockey at the pro level
I take a lot of pride in my ancestry and where I come from. I love my family and they've been a huge support cast for my whole career, so I feel really lucky. I definitely take a lot of pride in where I come from for sure.
@BR_NHL It seems like some NHL players, including yourself, have shown more personality and individual brands lately. What have you seen from other stars around the league like yourself PK, Seguin etc. showing personal style through social media and other outlets?
I think it's great. I love seeing stuff like that. Over the past 5-6 years, the league has continued to get younger. It's awesome to see young guys making an impact. In other leagues, guys do a really good job of branding themselves and just showing their personalities through their social media and style, so I think that's a really good direction for where the NHL has gone.
@Wrage You're in charge of picking talent for The NHL on TNT show. Who are the NHL personalities you'd want to watch?
Jeremy Roenick, Brett Hull—two fiery personalities, and then I need two guys to balance it out. Maybe a Patrick Sharp, someone very well-spoken who has been in the league. And maybe Kevin Weekes, got to get a goalie on there.
@VaughnViktorr Who has the best stache out of Freddie Mercury, Ron Burgundy and yourself?
Freddie Mercury. I dressed up as him for Halloween last year. Will Ferrell isn't a full-time stash guy like Freddie, mine’s not as mature.
@justi_in_time Is Bieber the better hockey player or you the better singer?
He's the better hockey player for sure. I'm not a great singer at all. He can dangle. My singing is not up to par, I might need a few lessons before I try anything.
@BayLegend Who’s the funniest teammate you've ever played with?
Joe Thornton. I've been with him for 4 months so that tells you all you need to know. He's a legendary guy. He's so funny and keeps things light. He just makes everyone happy with this aurora, this great energy.
@realalexlarsen What's your best story from playing with a legend like Joe Thornton?
He's never really got clothes on. He's always without a shirt or just in his little thong or spandex. Our PR guy came up with a good idea to film a video for our old teammate Patrick Marleau so we made Jumbo get in his thong which he had no problem doing and it came out pretty good.
@AnthonyRossi16 What advice would you give to a young kid trying to go pro?
Have people around you that you trust and have your best interest in mind. For me, it has always been my parents/my family. I have a really good relationship with my agent too.
@CJShoe Is it weird being an American superstar for a Canadian team?
I don't think it’s weird, but I find it funny. It's funny that people just forget that I'm not Canadian.
@CJShoe Where would you have committed if you went the college route?
Denver and Boston University would have been the choices.
@ZPetersel Who is the young player in the league that you love to watch and think has high potential?
I like Tim Stutzle on Ottawa. He plays with a lot of pace and is a good skater. And Rasmus Sandin on our squad. I think can be a really good player for us as well.
@BundleNation77 Tim Horton or Dunkin Donuts?
Timmy's. I'm personally not a fan of Dunkin Donuts. I think I would choose Starbucks over the three.
@avfanatic Favorite shoes you own?
Got a couple nice pairs of Jordans—Jordan Off-White UNC edition, but I don't wear them a lot because they're pricey. I've probably worn them one time. I like to get more affordable stuff that I don't mind wearing as much.
@BR_Walkoff: Who's your favorite MLB player and why?
David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez we're my favorite players growing up because I watched the Red Sox a lot. I'm a Dodgers fan though so I like Cody Bellinger. He's a chill dude.
@DutchMatrix If you left hockey tomorrow, what career would you pursue?
I feel like I was put on earth to play hockey so I don't really think about that. That's a tough one for me.
@BR_Betting: Best team gambling story?
It was my first or second year and we were in Edmonton. There's a casino attached to the rink and Mitch Marner won a lot of money playing blackjack that's all I'm going to say. I was playing with him and he got really hot. I've never seen someone play like that before.
@realjacobkonrad Thoughts on Tom Wilson and the Rangers’ organizational response to his actions?
It was quite a statement. I think it's important that guys gotta respect players. It's obviously a contact sport and there's physically and other elements to it but I think everyone just wants to have respect for one another and play within the rules.
The Dark Knight
Go-to cheat meal?
First thing you bought when you made the NHL?
I think I bought a car - a Jeep SRTA was my first car.
Favorite fashion brand right now?
Fear of God’s
Music you’re listening to on the way to the arena?
Lil Baby, Future or Young Thug - I listen to a lot of rap.
Matthews has been instrumental in turning the Maple Leafs back into a powerhouse franchise.
Prior to his debut in the 2016-17 season, Toronto made just one playoff appearance in the previous 11 years. The Maple Leafs have made the postseason in each of the past four years, though they are still seeking their first series win since 2013.
Toronto currently leads the North Division by six points over the Edmonton Oilers. The franchise has already clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season with four games still to play.