Top 11 Reasons This Year Is Different for the Toronto Maple Leafs

Feb 7, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner (16) celebrates his game tying goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 7, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner (16) celebrates his game tying goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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DETROIT, MICHIGAN – JANUARY 29: Ilya Mikheyev #65 of the Toronto Maple Leafs  . (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

#8. The Toronto Maple Leafs are Just Really Good

A good reason to believe that this year will be different than last year is that the team is better.

Not only is Mark Giordano here, but Auston Matthews isn’t battling a wrist injury that prevents him from shooting.  That alone makes the Leafs better than they were.

There is the aforementioned special teams prowess.

They are 6th in Corsi-For.

They are 4th in Expected Goals percentage, and have achieved their current position while scoring less goals than they deserve.  Eventually this will balance out, and the regression will favor the Leafs.

People keep questioning the Leafs defense, but they are actually ranked 8th in 5v5 expected goals against, which means that when their goalie isn’t blowing it, they are actually a way above average defensive team.

Currently the Leafs are sixth overall by points percentage, and yet by PDO (a measure of luck) they rank 17th.  Any time your results are outperforming your PDO you are highly probable to perform well in the future.

But the biggest reason to believe in the Leafs is how well they’ve done despite getting the 28th best 5v5 goaltending in the NHL.  A healthy Jack Campbell is guaranteed to be better than the 28th best goalie, and if the Leafs had even average goaltending for most of this year they’d be in first place by a significant margin.

The goalie is bound to be better and therefore so are the Leafs.