There is one statistic the Toronto Maple Leafs are terrible at this season, and it’s shocking that I haven’t heard anyone else talking about.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are among the worst teams in the NHL when it comes to giveaways. The team currently has the third most giveaways in the NHL this season with 424 giveaways. The Leafs trail only the Montreal Canadiens (the last place team in the NHL) with 462 giveaways and the Anaheim Ducks with 434 giveaways. (Stats from moneypuck.com)
What’s even worse is that most of their giveaways are in the defensive zone. 67.92% of their giveaways are defensive zone giveaways. Their 288 defensive zone giveaways is the second most in the NHL after the Montreal Canadiens’ 319.
Watching your favourite team give the puck away may be the most frustrating thing to watch in hockey, especially if it leads to a goal. Giveaways usually occur after an inaccurate or mishandled pass. I’d say the Toronto Maple Leafs should hang onto the puck a bit more, but they also fall victim to takeaways and have the fourth most takeaways against in the NHL this season.
Toronto Maple Leafs with the Most Giveaways
Of the top 10 players with the most giveaways in the NHL, two of them are on the Toronto Maple Leafs: Morgan Rielly sits in ninth place with 40 giveaways and Jake Muzzin is 10th with 39 giveaways.
The only other team with two players in the top 10 for giveaways surprisingly is the Florida Panthers. Aaron Ekblad leads the NHL with 52 giveaways and MacKenzie Weegar is fourth with 45. Other players in the top 10 include David Pastrnak and Brent Burns with 46, Ivan Provorov with 42, and Ryan Getzlaf, Miro Heiskanen and Leon Draisaitl all have 41 giveaways.
As far as defensive zone giveaways, Jake Muzzin has the second most in the NHL with 34 only one behind Ivan Provorov who has with 35. It’s shocking since Muzzin has been regarded as the Toronto Maple Leafs best defensive defenseman.
After Rielly and Muzzin, the next biggest culprits on the Leafs are John Tavares with 33 giveaways, Auston Matthews with 29, T.J. Brodie with 27, Mitch Marner with 26 and Justin Holl with 25. It could be understandable since most of those players also lead the Leafs in ice-time. William Nylander, however, sits fifth on the Leafs for ice-time and only has 12 giveaways.
If we do a little math to figure out giveaways per 60 minutes for the Leafs top six forwards and all defensemen, Muzzin leads with 3.13 giveaways per 60 minutes, Tavares with 2.89, Rielly 2.61, Marner 2.57, Holl 2.52, Dermott 2.49, Liljegren 2.41, Matthews 2.39, Kerfoot 2.02, Brodie 2.05, Sandin 1.95, Nylander 1.00, Bunting .94.
It should be said that Muzzin faces the toughest defensive assignments of any Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman, but he is usually paired with Holl who is doing a lot better that Muzzin with giveaways percentage-wise. I’m also not sure if this is a player issue or a coaching issue, but this is something the Toronto Maple Leafs need to figure out and quickly solve.