The Toronto Maple Leafs are off to a blazing start to the new NHL season.
In two games, the Toronto Maple Leafs are 2-0, and while it’s early and we should probably just be happy with the results, there are some pretty concerning things going unnoticed due to all the scoring.
First of all, the Leafs needed an I’ve-been-watching-hockey-my-entire-life-and-have-only-seen-it-once-or-twice two goals with the net empty to beat Montreal, who is likely going to be in competition with San Jose for the worst team in the NHL this year.
Secondly, Minnesota was the way better team on Saturday night, and if things were fair they would have received the two points. The Wild had nearly 60% puck-possession and 60% of the scoring chances, while the Leafs scored on nearly 20% of their 5v5 shots. (stats naturalstattrick.com).
Toronto Maple Leafs Are Fun, but Playing With Fire
The Leafs are scoring on 16% of their shots so far this year. All 31 NHL teams finished last season scoring on between 8 and 11% of their shots.
Obviously Auston Matthews is off to a good start, but 46% is a bit high and if he’s shooting at his normal rate, the Leafs are 0-2.
Ilya Samsonov has been atrocious. He is a Joseph Woll shut-out in the next game away from losing starts.
After two games, four of the Toronto Maple Leafs six defenseman are under water in puck-possession metrics. Only Rielly is winning his minutes by actual results, but by expected goals, four of the six defenseman are above the 50% cut-off when it comes to expected-goals.
The biggest problem has been the Klingberg and McCabe line which is getting completely destroyed every time they hit the ice.
After two games, McCabe has been on the ice for five goals against and one for.
McCabe and Klingberg are losing their minutes by a lot, and they currently have 36% and 37% expected goals, respectively.
The Leafs need to change this immediately because so far it’s the worst top-four in the NHL.
Overall, the game against the Wild was a rough night for almost all the Leafs newest additions. Ryan Reaves was horrendous, with the Leafs getting just 4 shot-attempts with him on the ice while allowing 18.
Noah Gregor was not better, finishing with a 24% Xgoals rating. Klingberg obviously stunk, and the Leafs were completely dusted whenever Domi was on the ice.
While Bertuzzi scored, even he was below 50% in all relevant on-ice stats.
The Toronto Maple Leafs won, and that’s all that really counts, but underneath all the goal scoring is a team that had trouble beating Montreal and who deserved to lose to the Wild. Going forward, they won’t score this much most nights, so if they continue to play this badly they will have a losing record.
I don’t expect them to, but it is possible. Clearly, after two nights, no one can say that the blue-line wasn’t every bit the problem we predicted it would be in the off-season.