Toronto Maple Leafs Matching Pace of Best Team Ever

The Toronto Maple Leafs are leading the NHL in points and are only a microscopically small percentage behind the Florida Panthers (who’ve played four less games) in the points-percentage category.

The Toronto Maple Leafs strong start can be attributed to their 3rd ranked 5v5 shooting percentage, and fifth ranked 5v5 save percentage.  The combined sum of these two numbers is called the PDO and it is generally accepted that this gives a rough indicator of a team’s luck.

If you are over 100, you are getting a bit lucky, and if you are under 100, you are getting unlucky. The theory being that these two numbers, given a large enough sample size, will always return to 100.

This is true, but with a focus on defense or a highly talented shooting team, some teams can stay above 100 for a long time. The Tampa Bay Lightning can seemingly do this forever, and that is because they are literally one of the best teams of all-time.  (all stats

The Toronto Maple Leafs Odds of Being the Best Team Ever

Maybe the Leafs can maintain their record setting pace and maybe they can’t.  Certainly they should have no problems maintaining their shooting numbers with Matthews in the lineup and Tavares and Nylander currently getting snakebitten.

The goaltending is a different story.  The Leafs have gotten stellar goaltending for the most part this season, but they are not a defensive juggernaut.  Unless Andersen has his career best season, we can count on the Leafs declining at least a little bit.

And there is nothing wrong with that.  They Leafs are currently playing at a pace that will make them one of the best teams of all-time if they keep it up.

The Leafs are a definite contender, but their current points percentage is roughly the same as the    60 win 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning which, if you factor in the existence of a salary cap, is the NHL’s best all-time regular season team.

I love this iteration of the Leafs, but even I’m not going to suggest they can match that Tampa team.  It’s not impossible, but right now they are 22nd in Corsi and 15th in expected goals.  Those are the best numbers we have to indicate future performance.

Barring unforeseen anomalies, teams that rank 15th in expected goals do not keep up their hot streaks over a long time.  The Toronto Maple Leafs could do this if Matthews continues to score at an 82 goal pace, and if Andersen keeps up the excellent work and if Justin Holl maintains his high level of play and if the power-play continues to be the best in the league.

If, if, if, if and if.

But that’s better than never.  In conclusion, I would be on the Toronto Maple Leafs winning the Canadien Division and maybe even leading the NHL for the whole season.  But I think a slight decline from a crazy .778 points percentage is inevitable.