The Toronto Maple Leafs currently sit fifth in the Atlantic Division, riding a two-game losing streak.
This has led me to ask the question: “Do the Toronto Maple Leafs actually stink?”
The team boasts a 5-3-1 record, so they’re not at 0-8-1 like the San Jose Sharks, but given the expectations for this year, their start is disappointing. Especially considering they’ve won several games they probably shouldn’t have.
I understand that it’s only been nine games, but within those nine games, it hasn’t been all sunshine and roses.
Here are the team’s five wins this season:
- vs. Montreal: 6-5 win (shootout)
- vs. Minnesota: 7-4 win
- vs. Tampa Bay: 4-3 win (OT)
- vs. Washington: 4-1 win
- vs. Dallas: 4-1 win
Among these wins, the only convincing victory against a strong team was the 4-1 win versus Dallas, but it required a 31-save performance from Joseph Woll to make it happen. Also, if they hadn’t been fortunate in their comeback wins against Montreal and Tampa Bay, this team could easily be 3-5-1 instead of 5-3-1.
As expected, the team’s biggest issues to start the season have been its lack of scoring outside the core-four forwards, as well as its defense. Jake McCabe and John Klingberg’s play haven’t helped matters, but overall, if the team wants to go far in the playoffs, they need to improve in both areas quickly.
Toronto Maple Leafs Are Not Offensive Juggernaut We Expected
For instance, through nine games, the Leafs have the seventh-worst penalty-kill in the league and have also allowed the 18th most goals.
You’d hope that since the team has the fifth-best power-play, it would even out, but overall, the team is only 14th in goals scored this year, so they haven’t been able to outscore their problems, which is something they’ve done in previous years.
Although William Nylander is on a nine-game point streak, John Tavares has 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists), and Auston Matthews has already scored seven goals, the rest of the team is struggling.
Mitch Marner has only managed two goals and hasn’t looked like his usual flashy self, while the supposed supplemental offense of Calle Jarnkrok, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Max Domi has only combined for three goals.
Domi has been the weakest of the bunch, as he still hasn’t scored, and if it doesn’t happen soon, I have no idea if it will happen this year.
Domi has been underwhelming, and the fact that Matthew Knies has two goals and two assists while playing alongside him says a lot about Knies, more than it does about Domi.
Speaking of Knies, I’ve personally loved his energy and believe he deserves a spot in the top-six over Bertuzzi, who hasn’t fit in beside Marner and Matthews as well as we expected.
As for the defense/goaltending, Joseph Woll/Ilya Samsonov can’t stand on their head every night, and when they don’t bring their “A game,” it results in a loss, as demonstrated by the performance on Tuesday night against the LA Kings.
Perhaps the Toronto Maple Leafs were looking ahead to the Boston Bruins on Thursday night and were still feeling the effects of their road trip, but Tuesday’s game does not instill confidence in this roster moving forward.
It’s evident that they need to upgrade a few positions, and hopefully, management can figure that out sooner rather than later, or the playoffs may not be as much of a lock as we all anticipated.