The Toronto Maple Leafs begin the new season with several new players on their roster.
Luckily, they seem to have addressed these concerns with acquisitions in Free Agency. The Leafs main acquisitions were Nick Ritchie, Michael Bunting, David Kampf, and Ondrej Kase, I figured I would take a look at these new Leafs and see what the expectations are for them.
Let’s begin with Nick Ritchie.
Forecasting the Newest Toronto Maple Leafs: Nick Ritchie
Famously, in the 2014 NHL draft, many Leafs fans wanted the Leafs to draft Nick Ritchie. Some, were even critical of the Leafs drafting star Swedish winger William Nylander over Nick Ritchie. Now, 7 years later, the Leafs have both! (And Nylander is the obviously superior player).
The Leafs inked Ritchie to a 2-year deal worth $2.5M per season this past summer and although the Nylander vs Ritchie debate is clearly over, the real speculation is where he’d fit into the Leafs forward group.
That question seems to have been answered for the most part as it seems that Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe likes Nick Ritchie playing their top line on the left wing. He hasn’t played any game action next to Auston Matthews so it’s hard to know whether it’s a fit or not, but the early returns seem to be promising as he’s developed good chemistry with star winger, Mitch Marner.
Now, what are the expectations? Well, over the past 3 seasons, he’s hovered between 0.44-0.52 PTS/GP with both the Anaheim Ducks and Boston Bruins. If he plays a full season next to Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, he likely surpasses that level considering these would be the best players he’s ever played with. Keeping that in mind, I’d expect we could see a 45 point season out of Nick Ritchie. If he drops down from that top line for a significant amount of time, I think a more realistic expectation is 35 points. (All stats naturalstattrick.com).