Sorry Montreal, the Toronto Maple Leafs Are the NHL’s Best Team

Jan 13, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) runs into Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 13, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) runs into Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Maple Leafs are best team in the NHL.

How do I know that the Toronto Maple Leafs are the best team in the NHL?  It’s easy.

First, at 7-3, they are tied for the best record in the NHL.  Second, they have the NHL’s best roster.  Third, they are only scratching the surface of their potential.

The reason why you should sell high on the Habs right now and stick with the Leafs is simple: the Leafs are getting it done despite the fact that the Tavares and Nylander line has MVP like peripherals and has been stone-cold when it comes to puck-luck – nothing is going in for them.

Auston Matthews has three 5v5 goals, and one of these was off his leg.  The NHL’s potentially best player has had terrible shooting luck dating back to last summers’ playoffs.  He is going to score a lot more going forward.

And while Freddie Andersen has been anywhere from horrible to amazing in the first ten games of the season, his save percentage is still under .900 and is guaranteed to rise significantly as we go forward.

There is a lot about the Leafs that says they’ll get better.  The Habs? Not so much.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Montreal

The Canadiens are dining out on the best month of Tyler Toffoli’s life.  He has nine goals in ten games. This is the opposite of what the Leafs have in Tavares/Nylander/Matthews inability to produce 5v5 offense. 

The Habs are 5th in shooting percentage, the Leafs are 15th.  You don’t need a mathematics degree to be able to predict with 100% certainty which direction each of those numbers are heading.

The Canadiens 5v5 save percentage is fifth too, while the Leafs are 13th. This isn’t as guaranteed as the shooting percentage futures, but it’s close.

Don’t get me wrong here – the Canadiens are playing great and I don’t begrudge them their success. I was 100% wrong when I suggested they would be fighting for last place with the Senators, I admit it.  BRUTAL prediction. 

The Habs are 100% guaranteed to make the playoffs.  They are a good team.  But they are not a great team, and they can’ t keep up their current record.  They’ve played the Vancouver Senators (not a typo, I renamed them) five times.  The Leafs haven’t played them once.  The Canadiens have had a much easier schedule.

In the playoffs, I would much rather play the Canadiens than the Oilers.  The Oilers have McDavid and Draisitl and over time, it doesn’t matter how deep the Habs are, that wins out.  That is why I like the Leafs – they’re as deep as Montreal, and they have more elite players than Edmonton.

The thing is though, the media hates the Leafs. It is insane to see the collective NHL Media fall over themselves to praise Montreal  while constantly doubting the team with the exact same record.  (Leafs beat Montreal, so that counts for more than one lousy OT loser point, at least for analytical purposes).

The Leafs let the Toronto Media dictate to them when to fire a coach or a GM or trade an unpopular player for years.  The Toronto Media wanted Mark Hunter *(btw, a complete and utter disaster) they got Kyle Dubas.

The Toronto Media said you can’t afford Tavares, Dubas brought him in.  The Toronto Media said that’s gonna cost you one of your Big Three.  Dubas signed them all.  The Toronto Media said Nylander was garbage and soft, he responded by scoring the most net-front goals in the NHL.  The Toronto Media said you can’t build a team around so many high salaries.  The Leafs iced the deepest team in the NHL.  They said you have to trade Nylander for a defenseman.  The Leafs got T.J Brodie for free and Kept Nylander.  (Stats

You get the picture: the Media hates Advanced Analytics (ooooh so scary! What’s a differential?) and the Leafs built the best team in the NHL using them. The Leafs have defied the Toronto (and by extension) NHL media at every turn, and they are, to a man, rooting for the Leafs to fail.

That is why, despite the team with all of the allstars the Leafs are presented as the team that is playing over their head, while people are doing their best to pretend that Tyler Toffoli’s 74 goal pace and five games against the Canucks make the Habs a “Juggernaut.”

Next. A Non-Exaggerated Idea of How Good the Leafs Could Be. dark

Just so we are clear: The Toronto Maple Leafs will finish with a better record, they will go farther in the playoffs are are miles ahead in terms of who is likely to win a Cup first.  The Leafs are a Contender, the Habs should hire Chrissie Hynde as a spokesperson. (Note: that outdated reference is made especially for all the NHL analysts who think Montreal will keep it up).