Auston Matthews’ history-making four-goal NHL debut earned him congratulatory remarks from players around the league, made the rookie phenom the talk of the league and nudged NBCSN to pick up the Toronto Maple Leafs’ home-opener against the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.
It’s also put him in the conversation with Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Jonathan Toews — at least in terms of jersey sales.
After Matthews opened his career a mind-blowing performance, the demand for his jersey seems to have shot through the roof, and it appears the Matthews craze has reached a point where his jersey isn’t just one of the most sought after jerseys in the league, it’s the most sought after jersey. ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported Sunday that since Thursday, the day which Matthews’ jersey officially went on sale, the Maple Leafs rookie has sold more jerseys than any other player.
It’s not an entirely uncommon circumstance for a fresh face such as Matthews to have one of the highest-selling jerseys, as the uniforms of star players are generally among the 10-best selling jerseys regardless of which team they play for. What makes Matthews’ circumstance special, though, is that, at least according to Rovell’s report, he’s ranking ahead of players like Crosby, Toews, Ovechkin, Connor McDavid, Patrick Kane.
Of course, Matthews does have an edge over the rest of his competition when it comes to the top-selling sweater. With a fanbase as dedicated as the one the Maple Leafs boast, it’s no wonder his jersey has been flying out of stores and there’s arguably a bigger market for Maple Leafs’ stars than any other team.
However, unlike most other stars in the league, Matthews’ No. 34 sweater is brand new. It didn’t exist before this season, meaning anyone looking to get their hands on a Matthews jersey needs to buy a new one. Players such as Crosby and Toews have spent a decade in the league, which is to say there’s a fair share of Pittsburgh Penguins No. 87 jerseys and Chicago Blackhawks No. 19 sweaters floating around. The same even applies to McDavid, who had the tenth-best selling jersey of the entire year in 2015-16.
The real test of how hot a ticket Matthews’ jersey is will be where his sweater ranks at the end of the year. If he’s still No. 1 — or even in the top five — it will be a testament to both how well he played and just how excited the Maple Leafs’ fanbase is to have Matthews in town.
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