The Best Regular Season In Toronto Maple Leafs History

TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 07: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his game winning goal at 13:10 in overtime to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 07, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 07: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his game winning goal at 13:10 in overtime to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 07, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs are having their best regular season in team history.

The fact that this is happening in a shortened season is typical of the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team has not only been completely devoid of success since the NHL expanded beyond six teams, but who has seen even the league’s most recent expansion team have more historical success than they have.

But just because the season is shortened (and weirder) it doesn’t mean that we should ignore just how amazing this season has been.

The Leafs currently have played 53 games of a 56 game schedule, and at no time in the history of their franchise have they ever had more points after 53 games.  In fact, the Leafs have played over 100 seasons in the NHL dating back to 2017-18 and their current win total – 34 – is a top 30 season for them.   It’s both great (for this year) and pathetic (historically).

This season their points percentage, .698, is the best in team history.  This is amazing, but for a fanbase whose team that has never won anything (at least not while there were seven or more teams) it might be hard to get excited about.

The crazy thing, however, is how much better this team could have been.

Toronto Maple Leafs And What Almost Was

You’d think I’d shy away from hypotheticals at this point, but I think they’re fun.  The Leafs are having their best season of all-time, and I think the following hypotheticals shed light on how good they can be.

First, it’s worth noting that in the ten games where Auston Matthews could barely shoot the puck, the Leafs went 4-6 which is just under half their total regulation losses for the year.

Second, despite the fact that the Leafs power-play went on something like a 1 for 50 slump, they actually lead the NHL in expected goals per minute of power-play time.

Third, 20% of their games were started by either Michael Hutchinson or David Rittich.

Fourth, their starting goalie, Freddie Andersen, played in  23 games and had a save percentage under .900.  (all stats naturalstattrick.com).

These four things aren’t meant as excuses, or as reasons to believe the Leafs could have gone 56-0. They are simply things that make what they have accomplished more impressive.

If Matthews never got hurt, if Jack Campbell was the starter the whole time, if the power-play wasn’t just randomly useless for a month….who knows? The point is that we’ve been witness to something special, and there is at least the potential that it’s even better than we think.

Next. Leafs Top 10 Prospects. dark

It is very likely that this is the best Leafs team of all-time.  I hope that they have at least enough playoff success that we remember it.