Comparing Toronto Maple Leafs Start to Stanley Cup Winners

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 7: Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs drops a puck to teammate Auston Matthews #34 for his 40th goal of the season against the Anaheim Ducks during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on February 7, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 7: Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs drops a puck to teammate Auston Matthews #34 for his 40th goal of the season against the Anaheim Ducks during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on February 7, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs are 10-2-1 to start the season and don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

As Leafs fans, every year we use the Toronto Maple Leafs and Stanley Cup in the same sentence, but typically we’re referring to 1967. Although there have been some great teams in franchise history since that last championship, this current roster may have the best chance at achieving greatness since the 1993-94 team.

That 1993-94 team started even better than this current ensemble of Maple Leafs going 10-1-1 to open the year. Dave Andreychuk led the way with 53 goals, while Doug Gilmour registered 111 points that season. That sounds all too similar to what Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner are doing right now.

That team led by Gilmour went on a magical run making it to the Conference Finals, before ultimately losing to the Vancouver Canucks in five games. The Leafs have made it back to the Conference Finals a few times since then, but those early 90s runs with Gilmour seemed like the best chance the team has had to win a Stanley Cup, since now.

How Do the Leafs Stack Up to Former Cup Champs?

As previously mentioned, the Toronto Maple Leafs are off to a stellar start. As shown by their victory Monday night against the Canucks, even when this team plays it’s worst, they find a way to win. Great teams always do that, so how does this start compare to previous winners?

Here’s a look at the previous 11 Stanley Cup winners and how long it took for each of them to get 10 wins.

  • 2019-20: Tampa Bay Lightning (10-7-2)
  • 2018-19: St. Louis Blues (10-13-4)
  • 2017-18: Washington Capitals (10-7-1)
  • 2016-17: Pittsburgh Penguins (10-3-2)
  • 2015-16: Pittsburgh Penguins (10-5-0)
  • 2014-15: Chicago Blackhawks (10-7-1)
  • 2013-14: LA Kings (10-6-0)
  • 2012-13: Chicago Blackhawks (10-0-3)
  • 2011-12: LA Kings (10-6-3)
  • 2010-11: Boston Bruins (10-5-1)
  • 2009-10: Chicago Blackhawks (10-5-1)

As you can see, if the Leafs went onto win the Stanley Cup this season, they would have the second-best record of any championship winner of the past 11 years. As much as a hot-start is nice, finishing strong is way more important in capturing a title.

Although a hot-start may not mean as much as previously thought, that 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks season may be the only season to truly compare the 2020-21 campaign to.

2012-13 was a lockout year, which meant the regular season was cut short to 48 regular season games. Similar to this season, where the NHL reduced it’s season to a 56-game sprint. With the games almost cut in half, every match-up matters so much more, so getting off to a hot start is necessary to guarantee yourself a playoff berth.

In the previous seasons I mentioned, each team had the luxury of a slow start because they had way more games to get back into the hunt. If the 12-13 Blackhawks had a slow start, they could have missed the playoffs, so they propelled their momentum of an amazing start all the way to a Stanley Cup championship.

Not only do their records look similar, but the Blackhawks were led by a young tandem of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. That duo may have already won a Stanley Cup in their young career, but both player’s were 24-years-old and were reaching the start of the prime of their careers. Sound familiar?

Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner are 23-years-old and share similar qualities as Kane and Toews. In fact, Marner was always compared to Kane prior to getting drafted to the NHL and many have seem similar leadership qualities that Toews possesses in Matthews.

Next. First Big Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Rumor. dark

Although there’s over 40 more regular season games to play, the Toronto Maple Leafs start is ideal. We’ll just have to wait and see how things play out, but if history shows us anything, this young duo could be lifting a Stanley Cup this summer.