Auston Matthews or Connor McDavid: Which player would you rather have?

HC analyst Nick Kypreos discusses the possibility of the Arizona Coyotes playing the same home card with Auston Matthews, as the Leafs did with John Tavares, and send an offer sheet the Maple Leafs couldn’t match.

It’s a question that may have you rolling your eyes at first glance, but the decision may be closer than you think.

Which top centre would you rather have: Toronto’s Auston Matthews or Edmonton’s Connor McDavid?

“For me, the skating is … he’s the best skater to ever play,” Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos said on Hockey Central at Noon. “I will give Connor McDavid the edge on skating.”

It’s hard to argue that. McDavid is the player to beat at the Fastest Skater Competition when all-star weekend rolls around. But Matthews has his own advantages.

“We give (Matthews) the shot, do we not?” Kypreos asked.

The panel discussed giving McDavid the edge in playmaking ability, but that Matthews is the better 200-foot player. Here’s a look at some comparison stats over the past two seasons (2016-17, 2017-18).

GP ES goal PP goals ES points PP points Shots (all) CF% (5-on-5) GF% (5-on-5)
Matthews 144 61 13 155 34 466 50.75 59.04
McDavid 164 61 8 989 47 525 52.7 59.47

Since these two will likely never be traded for one another, this question is even more interesting when you extend it to contract valuations. McDavid is in the first year of a deal paying him $12.5 million against the cap, while Matthews will be an RFA next summer and needs a new deal.

Assuming MAtthews comes in over John Tavares’ $11 million, can there be a case for Matthews to make the same as McDavid? Could he come in even higher than McDavid considering the salary cap could rise above $80 million next season?


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