Matthews, 20, was fourth in jersey sales in 2016-17, when he won the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year.
One factor behind Matthews’ surging to the top of the charts: Toronto’s participation in an outdoor stadium series game against the Washington Capitals, as Matthews was the featured player on the specially designed white road sweaters.
Outdoor games typically increase the sales of jerseys for players who participate in them. In the 2017-18 ranking, Mats Zuccarello of the New York Rangers (seventh), T.J. Oshie of the Capitals (12th) and Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres (13th) had all participated in either the Winter Classic or Stadium Series, and all made the top jersey sales list after missing the cut last season.
Also new to the top 15 in jersey sales: goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, the face of the hot-selling Vegas Golden Knights expansion team, who was at No. 4; and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy of the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning at No. 14.
Leaving the top 15 after making it last season: Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere of the Philadelphia Flyers; Ryan McDonagh, who was traded from the Rangers to the Lightning this season; Zach Parise of the Minnesota Wild; and Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens.
Chicago Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane (eighth) and Jonathan Toews (ninth) fell out of the top three, having placed there each year since 2014. The Blackhawks didn’t play in an outdoor game in 2017-18 and missed the playoffs for the first time in a decade.
Top-selling NHL jerseys:
1. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs
2. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
3. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
4. Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights
5. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
6. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
7. Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers
8. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
9. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
10. Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues
11. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
12. T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals
13. Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres
14. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning
15. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins