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12 Reasons Why Maple Leafs’ Fans Want Auston Matthews Traded

The Toronto Maple Leafs have one of the best players in the NHL in Auston Matthews. But many fans want him traded. What are their reasons?

In this post, I’m going to do what I have done many times as an academic researcher. I’m going to collect data, organize it, and use it to answer a question. In this case, there are two questions: (a) “Why do Toronto Maple Leafs’ fans dislike Auston Matthews? And, (b) “Why do Maple Leafs’ fans want to trade Auston Matthews?”

Where Did the Data for this Research About Auston Matthews Come From?

The data for this research comes from the comments readers made in a post written by Jim Parsons on The Hockey Writers (THW) website. It can be found by clicking the link below:

Related: Tension Mounts as Matthews Rumored Deal Jams Up Maple Leafs

As for the beginning of this research activity, Parsons’ post stirred fans up and obviously invited commentary. There were more than 240 comments when I began this work. There are likely more now.

To do this work, I copied all the comments into a Word file. I analyzed them and then organized them into themes (in this case the themes were the reasons readers game). Insofar as I could, I didn’t invest my own ideas into the readers’ commentary. I simply tried to allow their words to speak for themselves.

Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs

To the best of my ability to organize, here are the reasons the fans outlined in their discussions. I encourage you to read the post to see why it generated so much interest.

Reasons Maple Leafs Fans Don’t Like Auston Matthews and Want to Trade Him

Here are the reasons (in no particular order) that readers gave for why they don’t like Auston Matthews and want to trade him:

Reason One: Readers are doubtful about his re-signing. Readers noted that, if there were any doubt Matthews would sign after July 1, they believe the team should trade him to avoid losing him for nothing.

Reason Two: Readers don’t like his (rumoured) salary demands. Some readers believe Matthews wants to be the highest-paid player, and they believe he’s not worth it. They suggest trading him to avoid overpaying for a player who they don’t think is that good.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Bunting, Doan, Treliving & Matthews

Reason Three: Readers believe Matthews lacks commitment. Readers argued (literally) that if Matthews is unwilling to commit, which would allow the team to conduct its other business, they should consider moving him. That way the team could bring in players who were more invested in building a solid team.

Reason Four: Readers thought that Matthews was selfish. Some readers viewed Matthews as a greedy player who prioritizes money over team success. They believed his salary demands limit the team’s options. Therefore, they called for him to be traded.

Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs

Reason Five: Readers believed Matthews’ lack of playoff performance was a reason he should be moved. Criticism was directed towards Matthews’ playoff performance, with comments suggesting that he disappears when it matters most. As well, he has not proven himself as a playoff performer. Some readers suggested trading him while his value is still high.

Reason Six: Readers thought that he didn’t fit in Toronto. Some readers believed that, while Matthews is a great player, he doesn’t fit with the Maple Leafs. They argued that the team should have focused on building around players like Marner and Nylander instead.

Reason Seven: Readers believed Matthews focused on money. Readers expressed the opinion that Matthews is primarily motivated by money. They doubt whether he would sign a contract that adjusts based on the yearly salary-cap limits.

Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs

Reason Eight: Readers believed the team could not be successful with him in the lineup. Some readers pointed out that, despite Matthews’ talent, the Maple Leafs had not had enough success with him. They argued that his lack of performance in crucial games raises questions about his integrity and leadership qualities. Therefore, they believed trading him would be in the team’s best interest.

Reason Nine: Readers believed the team needed grit. Some readers suggested that the Maple Leafs lack grit and physicality. These readers saw Matthews as a “pansy” who doesn’t fit the mould of a playoff-winning team. They called for a change in the team’s makeup to have a better chance at playoff success.

Reason Ten: Readers cited the team’s salary cap constraints. Readers criticized the Maple Leafs’ management for allowing players like Matthews and Marner to sign overpriced contracts. They believed these contracts limited the team’s ability to build a competitive roster. They perceive selfishness from these players, while other deserving players are left without adequate financial support.

Related: Maple Leafs Quick Hits: Shane Doan Shares His Thoughts

Reason Eleven: Readers felt that the uncertainty around Matthews remaining unsigned was a distraction. Some readers expressed concern about the constant uncertainty surrounding Matthews’ future and how it affects the team’s salary cap space and ability to plan for the future. They believed this situation hampers the team’s ability to compete for a championship.

Reason Twelve: Readers’ perception of Matthews’ performance was that he could score but also that he wasn’t a winner. Some readers believe that, although Matthews is a great goal scorer, he’s not necessarily a winning hockey player. They felt that he relied on others to feed him the puck. They also questioned the media’s portrayal of him as “the greatest player ever.”

The Bottom Line

Obviously, the 12 reasons listed above were not held by all those who commented. Note that I focused the research on the “negative.” That is, why did fans not like him?

There’s certainly a positive side to the readers’ comments. But I left those behind while I collected the reasons.

However, in truth, the genesis of this idea emerged from my own surprise about how much fans didn’t like Matthews. My own perception is that the fans are fortunate to have such a great player on the team.

Nevertheless, I also thought it was not logical to take into consideration the thoughts of those who disagreed with me. As a result, I have included them in this post.

Related: Five Reasons the Maple Leafs Might Not Re-Sign Michael Bunting



  1. bdjbent

    June 11, 2023 at 6:25 am

    Two players of the top 4 salary players should be kept 1 William Nylander 2 Auston Matthews. The biggest problem in playoff is Mitchell Marner. He is not a player for big moments. How many tries did he have vs NYR to get 100 points and as always he fail.

    • gfinale

      June 11, 2023 at 12:15 pm

      Agreed and Nylander is a doing better but wait and see still.

  2. Afp1961

    June 11, 2023 at 7:36 am

    Jim – I agree with your twelve points with one exception……change the name from Matthews to Marner and your article would be 100% accurate and factual. Marner as I have said in real time for 4 years is the bad apple, the entitied little one who wants top billing, the playoff blunder who shrinks and retreats even further from the net during the playoffs, the overpaid (by at least 2m) winger who will want even more in his next contract.

    I hope with treliving coming in and having broken the Dubas loyalty ring we see this move now.

  3. gfinale

    June 11, 2023 at 7:55 am

    What is entirely misunderstood by some is that wanting a player traded, not in the lineup, playing in the AHL for a while, playing on a different line or less minutes, sheltered somehow has to do with “disliking” a player.

    I do not know Matthews AT ALL and the people I know and trust do not know him either. If I met him for 10 minutes, I wouldn’t be foolish enough to think I could know him in that time either. Matthews pulled a silly stunt as a very young man that came out, so what except for possibly the way his camp handled it at first. He’s on betting commercials for a huge company that takes bets on the game he plays when he obvious should NOT need the money. So, I don’t dislike him but let’s be clear that he’s not that great of a model citizen. Many of these pro athletes are not really model citizens though. In the end it’s not much about liking the person, I mean, as long as they aren’t a disgrace like I think of Evander Kane.

    This is ALL about what is best for the team and let’s be clear that, in this case, it’s about Matthew’s short contract with a NMC kicking in the last year and 7 years of playoff failures that is mostly on the concept of this particular Corpse-4.

  4. gf

    June 11, 2023 at 7:59 am

    Some people need to get this straight btw. Matthews is NOT a 60 goal scorer any more than Kerfoot is a 50 point player. They were that in just 1 year of their ~7 year career and playing with top regular season talents that assist them in it.

  5. Spirit of 67

    June 11, 2023 at 10:51 am

    The Leafs are lucky to have Matthews..!
    It’s simple.

  6. Vince

    June 11, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    You guys are kidding right? Do you watch the games. Leafs are nothing without Marner. Matthews is a mediocre centre at best. If Keefe had of put Marner with the two St. Louis players there would have definitely been protection and goals. Matthews will never stand up for himself or anyone else on that team during a game. Wake up people we will never see a cup with him at 150,000 plus per game.

  7. Paul Hansmann

    June 11, 2023 at 1:42 pm

    are people just stupid ??? Mathews over Marner?? the fact that Mathews has been injured more over the years and Marner is an all around way better player. looking at the points every year, Marner is consistent so you know what you get every year for you money, and no matter who is on his line with him he makes that player better, look at the stats they don’t lie.

    • bdjbent

      June 11, 2023 at 2:20 pm

      Marner is a complementry player to Matthews or Tavares he can’t drive a line by him self.

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