The Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t have the season we expected.
Coming into the season, I think most people figured that the Toronto Maple Leafs would – at the very least – take a large step towards contending for the Stanley Cup.
Instead, the Leafs had a terrible October and November, culminating in the firing of Mike Babock, and Sheldon Keeef taking over the team on November 21st.
The Leafs took to Keefe’s new system like ducks to water, and only injuries prevented them from fully overcoming their terrible start to the season.
Still, there were signs that the Leafs were among the NHL’s best teams, despite the rocky, up and down season.
They finished 8th overall from the day Keefe was hired to the day the league shut down in March.
They did that despite having a 5v5 save percentage that ranked in the bottom third of the league. (Teams that finish higher in the standings than their 5v5 save percentage almost always get better results eventually).
And they posted team stats that were roughly on the same level as the Tampa Bay Lightning, and slightly better than the Boston Bruins – you just cant help it if you don’t get the goaltending, and the Leafs didn’t.
Still with the most elite players in the league, with one of the two best forwards, and the best centre depth in hockey, the Leafs are on the right track.
They will soon be adding two potentially elite players that can help while being paid on entry-level contracts (Sandin and Robertson) and will look to win the Stanley Cup later this summer.
But for now, let’s do some player grades.