The Toronto Maple Leafs hit the all-star break with the fourth best record in the NHL, and the best special teams. They have legitimate candidates for all major awards (save the Norris) and are on pace to finish with the best regular season in franchise history.
It has been an amazing season so far for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who just won their fifth game in a row for the fourth time this season. They have picked up at least nine out of ten points in a five game stretch five different times.
The Leafs are the 4th best team in the NHL since the day Sheldon Keefe took over, so that is a 144 game sample of the Leafs being close to the best team in the NHL, vs 12 games of playoff failure where a) Columbus set a playoff series NHL record for save percentage b) The Leafs posted a 56% expected goals rating d) The team got amazing goaltending and defense, but couldn’t do what it normally does best, which is score.
So unless you completely failed math, you should put about 12x more stock in their 144 games of success than their 12 games of injury-assisted failure.
To be honest, this is probably the most underrated great team to ever exist.
Toronto Maple Leafs First Half to Remember
The Toronto Maple Leafs started off the season with a couple of unlucky losses to New York and San Jose, then they got clobbered by Pittsburgh and, coupled with the recent playoff failure, people were ready to write them off. (all stats naturalstattrick.com).
They had one game against Carolina where even though they lost, they played well. After that, they started a streak that currently is ongoing, where they posted a record of 27-6-2 which means they picked up 80% of the points available to them.
In other words, they’ve averaged four wins out of five for three straight months, and if they kept it up for a full season would be one of the best teams ever. For context, the 1978 Montreal Canadiens, roundly considered the best team of all-time, picked up 80.6% of the points available to them.
The 2022 Toronto Maple Leafs are in rarified air, and right now they have the best team they’ve had since they last won the Stanley Cup, and they are likely the NHL’s best team.
The Leafs are third in the NHL in expected-goals at 5v5, but they also have the best special teams in hockey (first in PP, third in PK). Combined, the Leafs have an all-situations expected-goals rating of 56.39%.
Calgary is second, but the Leafs are ahead of them by over half a percentage, which, when the top team is at only 56% is actually quite a large difference. Florida is 3rd, 1.74 percentage points behind, which is the same gap between 3rd place Florida and 11th place Edmonton.
Oh and in case you weren’t aware: not only is Mitch Marner on a seven game goal streak, but Matthews has 22 goals in his last 22 games. This is a nearly perfect team that has depth, talent, scoring, grit, leadership, and coaching. The Leafs have the NHL’s best roster, and they have the best stats. There has never been a better time to be a Leafs fan.