This past Saturday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs took down their division rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning, in a come-from-behind 4-3 OT victory.
There was a lot to like from this game, including Matthew Knies scoring his first 2 NHL regular season goals, Max Domi having his best game as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Joseph Woll stopping 29/29 shots in relief of Ilya Samsonov.
However, one player who went unnoticed during that game was none other than Leafs captain John Tavares, who notched a beautiful assist on the opening goal of the game and even won the game in overtime for the Leafs.
Tavares continues to get overlooked by hockey fans, and he’s not slowing down one bit.
Toronto Maple Leafs: John Tavares Still Overlooked
With his 2-point performance from Saturday night, Tavares now has 2 goals and 7 assists, for a very strong 9 points in only 5 games played.
Tavares’s 9 points currently have him tied for 5th in the entire NHL in points, ahead of the likes of Connor McDavid, Nathan Mackinnon, and teammate Auston Matthews. (stats: quanthockey.com)
Now obviously this pace will likely fall off, and Tavares more than likely won’t be a top-5 scorer in the entire NHL by the end of the season, but he has been a very strong player this year, and he has been every year since joining the Leafs.
And people are still overlooking him.
Tavares has 363 points in 365 regular season games with the Leafs, even at age 33 he is still producing at an elite level.
Almost every season, people underrate Tavares. A fall off is predicted for this man almost before every season, but he still keeps producing.
Now, is Tavares worth his $11 million AAV? Easily. The Leafs gave out that contract knowing full well that the odds were he’d be in decline by now. But he hasn’t declined at all. Taveres has 9 points in five games, and he has a 60% Expected Goals rating. His on-ice numbers have been elite ever since he joined the Leafs.
He finished has last season with the Islanders scoring 36 5v5 points with a 47% Expected-Goals rating. Last year with the Leafs he 37 5v5 points and a 54% Expected Goals Rating.
Has his foot speed slowed down a bit? Sure, it has. But is Tavares still an elite NHL player and integral part to this Leafs team? Indeed he is, and people need to start realizing that.
Tavares is a point-per-game player who consistently drives play and wins his 5v5 minutes. It was worth $11 million six years ago, and it’s worth at least that much today.
Tavares’s amazing start to the season has been overlooked by many, but that doesn’t matter to “Johnny T”. He wants his Stanley Cup and will do whatever it takes to reach that goal.
Let’s see if this is finally the year Tavares and the Toronto Maple Leafs reach Lord Stanley.