The Toronto Maple Leafs lost to the Buffalo Sabres and you’d think that was it.
Now, perhaps I’m only speaking about prominent and/or vocal fans, but are we (i.e Toronto Maple Leafs fans) really this soft?
Like, one goalie-based slump and everyone is just ready to throw in the towel?
I understand that perhaps 55 years is a long time to go without winning, and that when you add in the recent playoff disappointments that it might be hard to fully believe your favorite team will ever win, but does that also mean completely ignoring everything positive at all times?
This team has more start players, and more depth than any other roster in the league. They are a top 5v5 team and the best special teams team. They have two of the NHL’s five best players, and if people could view this team without the baggage of the “Toronto Maple Leafs” they wouldn’t complain about them nearly so much.
Sure, losing to Buffalo twice in a week is pretty annoying, but the Leafs have posted a positive Expected Goals rating in nine of their last ten games.
Yes, only real results actually “count” but the regular season, as I am constantly reminded, doesn’t really count either. So why focus on random results when the team is playing fantastic?
The Leafs are 5-3-2 in their last ten, despite absolutely terrible goaltending. The results haven’t been there, but the team is playing in a way that means they will win almost all of their games.
In the short term especially, process outweighs results. The President’s Trophy is still well within reach, so it’s kind of insane how easily people get negative about this team.
Toronto Maple Leafs Have Been Unlucky
Critics have constantly pointed out the Leafs supposed weakness, while failing to address the bad luck they’ve encountered. (stats naturalstattrick.com).
Despite being 4th overall in Expected Goals percentage, the Leafs are 12th overall in goals-for percentage. That’s just bad shooting luck.
The Leafs are 27th in goaltending, and yet they are 9th overall in expected-goals against per 60 minutes of 5v5 ice time.
The Toronto Maple Leafs rank 17th in the NHL in PDO, which is the combined total of a team’s shooting and save percentages at 5v5. If it’s over 100, the team is lucky. If it’s under 100, they are getting unlucky. The reason for this is that, given enough time, every team will play to 100.
In conclusion, an 82 games season is a long one, and teams have ups and downs. The Toronto Maple Leafs starting goalies have had a rough couple of months, but like everything else, that won’t last. There is nothing to worry about – the Leafs remain the NHL’s best team.