Toronto Maple Leafs: You Wouldn’t Want to Play This Team Right Now

Captain John Tavares #91 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Captain John Tavares #91 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs – whatever else you want to say about them – are a stacked offensive team.

John Tavares, the Toronto Maple Leafs captain, is only two years removed from a 47 goal campaign, and is flirting with being a point-per-game player this season, despite career lows in shooting percentage and ice time.  

And he’s the fourth best offensive player on this team – which is a compliment to the team, not an insult to Tavares.

If John Tavares is your team’s fourth best scorer, you probably are the best offensive team in hockey.  For a while, it was true – on March first, the Leafs were just slightly behind Tampa for first place in Goals-For per minute of ice-time, and first in Goals-For per minute of Power-Play ice-time.

Then they went on a 1 for 28 slump with the man advantage since March the 4th.  

Toronto Maple Leafs Power-Play

This sort of improbable streak is 100% based on a combination of shooting luck, goalies, variance and randomness – essentially it’s just an unlucky run that has nothing to do with the actual players on the ice (or, very, very little).

The Leafs started the month of March with three power-play goals over two games against the Oilers and have been cold ever since.

Since March 4st the Leafs have played a bonkers 12 games, and somehow, despite having one of the most skilled rosters in the league, have the second lowest time on the power play in this stretch of games.   That is a reflection of the NHL’s absolute joke officiating, but that’s not what I’m here today to talk about.

In those 12 games, the Leafs are 1 for 28, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.  This quote from Jeff Veillette sums it up nicely:

The point here is that flukes happen, and we shouldn’t worry too much about crazy things that happen during small sample sizes.  The Leafs, over time, are going to obviously be a lot closer to the elite power-play  team of the first two months of the season than the one who is sputtering right now. The stats above are a few days old and might be out of date, but they illistarte a point regardless. (

Corrections happen, and they tend to happen in bunches.  It’s highly likely that the Leafs will even this out by scoring on five of their next six power players, or something similarly crazy.

In addition, if you click that tween and read the thread you’ll see an interesting thing about goal posts, and how the Leafs are second in hitting them, and near last in other teams hitting their posts.

This is also the kind of thing that evens itself out over time.  So the Leafs are a team that is highly likely to get some course correcting positive luck any time now.

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I definitely would not want to play this team right now.