On Sunday, Toronto Maple Leafs Head Coach Sheldon Keefe held a post-practice media briefing. In that briefing, he was asked and he answered the media’s questions. The result was that he provided valuable insights into a variety of aspects of the team.

In this post, I want to share specifically what Coach Keefe noted about how he believed Auston Matthews might improve his value to the team. On the face of it, given that Matthews now has 16 goals and is tracking once again toward 60, the idea that he hasn’t yet reached his potential is an interesting thought. That said, Coach Keefe believes he could become more valuable to his team.

Related: Grading the Maple Leafs Core Four After 15 Games

A Look at Coach Keefe’s Insights for Auston Matthews

While not directly asked about Matthews’ areas of improvement, Coach Keefe’s comments alluded to a key aspect of Matthews’ game that he’d like to see more of. He wants Matthews to shoot more. He’d like to see the Maple Leafs sniper become far more assertive in shooting the puck. Specifically, Keefe believes Matthews should be more aggressive in attacking, creating chaos, and challenging opposing goaltenders with his shots.

According to Keefe, Matthews occasionally leans towards thinking like a playmaker and seeking to feed his teammates rather than focusing on putting the puck on the net with his shot. The coach believes that a more assertive shooting mindset from Matthews would both boost his goal-scoring as well as disrupt opponents’ defensive structures. If he would do that, Keefe believes he would create more opportunities for the entire team.

Related: Why Sheldon Keefe Is Changing Up the Maple Leafs Top Six

Enhancing the Maple Leafs’ Offensive Impact Through Aggressive Shooting

In essence, Keefe’s vision for success revolves around creating chaos on the ice, throwing opponents into disarray, and breaking down their defensive systems. The coach believes that by generating chaos, the elite skills within the team’s lineup could capitalize on the ensuing confusion.

While I’m just inferring this through reading what Keefe said, I believe his strategy centers on putting as many pucks on the net as possible, creating defensive disorganization, and allowing his team’s skilled players to exploit the resulting “mess.”

In summary, Keefe advocates for a style of play that maximizes offensive opportunities by embracing unpredictability and disorder on the ice. It’s an interesting strategy, and I’ve seen it work so many times against the Maple Leafs that I’m buying what Coach Keefe is selling with this idea.

However, to answer the question posed in the title of this post, Coach Keefe believes that Matthews can become a better player by concentrating on his scoring rather than trying to become a playmaker on offence. Even when he misses a shot, there’s a chance for chaos in front of the net. Then the team’s job is to jump on that chaos and score a goal.

Related: Seven Ways to Help Keep John Tavares’ Producing

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *