The Toronto Maple Leafs have the bones of a good team, and they can impressively win games they don’t deserve to win. That just isn’t a recipe for long-term success.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have four elite scoring forwards, a ton of good help upfront, and a couple of good goalies. That means they can win a lot of games when they don’t play a full 60 minutes.
Since they are the least-deep and most top-heavy they have EVER BEEN, this will keep them alive in the playoff race until their GM, the new John Ferguson Jr., gets his act together and does something to positively impact the team.
So far, the Leafs have gone to overtime in 10 of 21 games. They have seven wins in OT/Shootout.
Wining 70% of your OT games is just very lucky. You could easily win 2 of 11 or 10 of 11 by playing no differently. The results of one-goal games in the NHL are basically a coin-flip and historically, teams with strong records in a high number of one-goal games are paper tigers.
I.E they win a lot without deserving to and they are a worse team than their record suggests.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Time for the New John Ferguson Jr. to Earn His Paycheque
The Leafs are 8-3 in one-goal games, wining their single one-goal game that didn’t go to overtime. They have blown a two-goal lead at least four times in 21 games. They have won games where they were down by multiple goals at least three times.
That is a third of their games. Add in the fact that Joseph Woll has stolen three games, and Samsonov stole them a point in a game they had no business even making it to OT.
That is not sustainable. The Leafs record right now is a best-case scenario. Their record when they overcome or blow multi-goal leads is immaculate, and that’s not even supposed to be possible.
Let’s just be generous and say that they could have five less points pretty easily. That puts them with Buffalo and Montreal, 12 spots lower in the standings, just ahead of Edmonton.
Last night’s game, which the Toronto Maple Leafs had no business winning (they played a good first period, then quit) was a perfect example of what’s wrong with this team:
Connor Timmins was all-right in a sheltered role, but the rest of the blue-line was horrendous.
Rielly had to do too much, Brodie was BRUTAL and had a 36% xGoals rating, while once again looking almost unplayable. Maybe he’d be fine on the second or third pairing, but he’s donzo as a top-pairing guy.
The second-pairing though was Jake McCabe and William Lagesson. They played together for 12 minutes and shots were 11-2 for the Kraken.
When the coach put McCabe with Benoit, they didn’t even get the puck.
An NHL team has no excuse for ever being so unprepared that they dress a second pairing like this. You could blame injuries, but the Leafs came into this season with a terrible blue-line and wouldn’t look much better if they had the six guys they planned on having right now.
To play that lineup on the same day Nikita Zadorov was traded to Vancouver for a package the Leafs easily could have matched or exceeded was just embarrassing.
Last night’s game was fun, because Mitch Marner had a great game, and the Leafs won, which I am glad about and do cheer for. But putting aside my role as a Leafs fan, and attempting to be an objective analyst, that game was pathetic. (stats naturalstattrick.com).
Time for old JFJ to swing into action. The Maple Leafs GM has been complete garbage so far, and it’s about time he did something, anything, that had a positive impact on the team.