The Toronto Maple Leafs continue life without Auston Matthews and William Nylander.
After splitting two games this past weekend, the Toronto Maple Leafs record is now 11-6, good for second place in the Atlantic Division and four points ahead of the New York Rangers who are in ninth place.
To give you some idea of the parity affecting the NHL in the salary cap era, even though the Leafs are one three game losing streak away from being on the outside of the playoff picture, they are in fourth place in the overall league standings.
Not bad for a team playing without two elite players.
Toronto Maple Leafs by the Numbers
The Leafs are tied for second in ROW (wins in OT/Regulation) with 11, behind Nashville’s 13. This means the Leafs have not had a shoot-out win this year. They are also one of only two teams without a loser point in OT.
The Leafs are third in the NHL with a +12 goal differential.
They are fifth in the NHL in goals scored, and eighth in goals allowed.
Considering the Leafs are not a very good defensive team, I think it’s important to give some context to that very good goals against number. The reason its so high is the extremely good play of the Leafs goalie, Frederick Andersen. The Leafs goalies combine for over a 93% save percentage when playing 5v5. This is the sixth best 5v5 save percentage in the NHL, and when you combine it with the Leafs 3rd highest in the NHL shooting percentage, it means the team is, unfortunately, ripe for regression.
In order to keep winning at their current pace, the Leafs will have to significantly improve their shots allowed numbers (12th worst) and their possession rating (17th overall).
Of course, adding Matthews and Nylander back into the lineup will significantly impact these numbers. It’s reasonable to expect that with a fully healthy and signed lineup, the Toronto Maple Leafs can improve their current standings. Yes, they’re getting a bit lucky, but its not like the Islanders who are playing way above their heads. If the Leafs got the results the numbers suggest, they’d only have a few less points than they currently have, and getting back Matthews and Nylander should make up for that and some.
The outlook for the Leafs is very good. They should have this Nylander situation wrapped up in the next couple of weeks, if not sooner, and Matthews is already skating and should be back shortly.
The Leafs will also have the option to trade some of their futures for help now as they position themselves for the post season. There is no reason to think that the Leafs can’t keep pace with the Predators, Lightning, Bruins and Jets as the season goes on.
stats from naturalstattrick.com
standings from NHL.com
All standings and stats current prior to Monday Night’s Games