How many points will each Leaf player get next season?

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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

August is always the roughest month for hockey content. There is always extremely little going on and even the tiniest bit of news throws the hockey world into a frenzy. August is the opposite of Everything Is Happening.

With that being said, I’ve always been fond of August because it marks the beginning of fantasy hockey season. Some of the big fantasy hockey guides go on sale around this time and reading them has always been something I look forward to every summer. 

Mostly it’s “hmmm, that’s a lot of points for _________ (insert random overhyped player here)” or “I can’t believe they think _________ (insert second overhyped player here) is going to score more points than _________ (insert underrated player who I consider my son here).” But still I do genuinely enjoy the content and perspective towards what certain players will likely do next season.

With this being a Leafs blog, I figured we should take a look at what’s being projected of the Leafs going into next season. I’ve built my own projection model based on a player’s last three seasons that we’ll use alongside the three fantasy guides I’ve bought – The Hockey News, Dobber, and The Sports Forecaster – in order to get an average projection for each player going into 2016-17.

(Sidebar: the three guides like to project games played which is not a practice I agree with, so their projections have been changed to what each player would get in 82 games. THN’s guide didn’t include GP projections for anyone under 30 points, so those projections are not adjusted for games played and are in red).

So without further ado, here’s how many points each Leaf is expected to score next season.

Forwards

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Let’s start with what each guide agrees on. James van Riemsdyk will probably lead the Leafs in scoring (if he stays healthy). Nazem Kadri probably settles in around 50 points. Leo Komarov is a 35 point guy, which is on the border between a second and third liner. Zach Hyman could be a 30 point player if he plays, ditto to Kerby Rychel, Milan Michalek, Peter Holland and Nikita Soshnikov. The Leafs basically have a lot of dudes who can hit 30 points which is okay third line production. And then there’s Matt Martin and Brooks Laich who are both unanimously considered replacement level scorers.

Now the differences. The obvious one is Auston Matthews. I’ve got him at 43 purely because I used NHLe for rookies and the NLA isn’t a league where there’s been a lot of translations. I think 65 points is probably a stretch though as THN and Dobber proclaim, but a 55 point projection is a fair middle ground. It’s first line calibre and it’s in line with what recent top non-McDavid picks have done. 

Mitch Marner is a bit different too because it all depends on playing time. I’ve got him at 40 because I don’t think he’s likely to get big minutes, while Dobber sees 60 points because of his huge offensive upside. The Forecaster doesn’t think he even makes the team, I guess, while THN is right in the middle at 50. I’m okay with that, but with him the variance in his production is likely very high.

As a whole, there could be as many as five 50 point players on the Leafs next season. That seems a bit high to me considering a grand total of zero players hit that last season, but in fairness one of them would’ve if he was healthy, another would’ve with better luck, and the other three are the team’s super rookies. The team also looks like it has pretty capable scoring depth depending on how it’s assembled.

Defence

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Optimism is quite high for Morgan Rielly. He hit a career high last season with 36 points and that’s led the fantasy guides to project 40+ points next season. THN and Dobber are reaching a bit too high in my opinion, but I might be a little low at 36. Since my projections are based on past performance, it’s difficult for it to predict any big breakouts for young players like Rielly aside from age adjustments. Regardless, 43 points seems like an okay bet and that would put him in the top 25 for d-men.

Jake Gardiner at 34 seems like a safe bet too and there was very little variation from everyone. This might be the year he gets some decent powerplay time that could boost his totals to 2D levels. That PP ice time could be stymied however by Nikita Zaitsev, who is the only player my projections are highest on. He scored well in the KHL and should get top-four minutes. Connor Carrick is another guy who could get PP time and the four systems see him get somewhere between 21 and 27 points which is second pairing caliber.

The final four d-men are all terrible at scoring. The Forecaster didn’t even bother wasting their time with a projection which I respect wholeheartedly. Following their vision, I will not waste any more of my own time writing things about them.

Closing Thoughts

The Leafs actually have some good players this year worth owning in fantasy hockey. It’s a very interesting change of pace from last season, to say the least. It’ll be interesting to see how close the projections are to what really happens so make sure you bookmark this page and save it for April to personally yell at me. 

  • richtanleafsfan

    am i the only one that wouldn’t be shocked if the leafs made the playoffs next year?

    how many 1 goal games did they lose last year?

    now add in better goaltending, better possession, WAY better forwards, and an entire organizational push to not tank

    people knock the defense but look what d the Penguins won a cup with last year

  • Newleafs

    I think you are overlooking that Matthews broke P. Kane’s scoring record and out scored Eichel by 20 points in NTDP.

    He will score more than Eichel’s rookie year that is a very safe projection. NHLe is a flawed metric if you use Eichel and Kane as comparables.

    I think 60 points is achievable and I would not be shocked if he did even better than that.

  • Foximus

    Matthews = 58 pts
    Nylander = 53 pts
    Marner = 49 pts
    JVR = 65 pts (full season)
    Kadri = 60 pts

    Reilly = 45 pts
    Zaitsev = 34 pts
    Gardiner = 35 pts

    Lots more scoring for the Leafs this year. Lots of talent entering the roster and looking to prove doubters wrong.

    Not sure about goals against though… More work to be done with the d. It will come though.

    The Leafs should be a fun team to watch this year!

  • Foximus

    my projections: matthews: 57 points. nylander: 51. kadri: 53. jvr: 63. marner: 42. rielly: 44. gardiner: 36. zaitsev: 31. I just have a good feeling about this year. nylander vs matthews for rookie of the year. marner won’t get a lot of ice time/good linemate because babcock doesn’t trust rookies. hopefully he’s too good that babcock has no choice and he blow the doors off! here we go!

  • DJ_44

    I found it kinda funny that the likes of Matthews, Nylander and Marner outscore Kadri in THN predictions.

    Matthews has the best shot to do so, Nylander IF him and Matthews have good chemistry and teams don’t focus on their line, and I don’t think Marner out scores Kadri this year, if he even makes the team for the full season.

    Kadri is a proven player in this league and mostly likely a first line centre production player (50 points). Look at his stats and then remember the teams he played on. He has averaged .6pts/gm over his career or 49.55pts/season.

    Nylander and Marner at this point are just potential and very unproven.

    • magesticRAGE

      If think they will be in a similar range. Remember, Kadri plays the hardest 5/5 minutes of the forward group, the kids will have easier minutes. Also, Matthews and Nylander will have the benefit of feeding off each other, and Marner would likely have Bozak (when Mitch plays).

  • Harold Ballard

    My point projections…

    JVR – 62
    Matthews – 55
    Kadri – 50
    Nylander – 47
    Marner – 46
    Bozak – 45
    Komarov – 39
    Michalek – 32
    Holland – 30
    Soshnikov – 30
    Hyman – 30

    Rielly – 42
    Gardiner – 34
    Zaitsev – 27
    Carrick – 21

    • Tommy Cat

      I think you’re right on the high end and some of these guys may reach these totals, but not all. Probably half of them and the Leafs still will miss the playoffs by about 5 spots.

  • DJ_44

    Everyone who thinks Matthews is better than Marner is wrong. Anyone who thinks Nylander is better than Marner is just….. well there are no words for just how wrong that is!

    Mitch marner is the best prospect the Leafs have ever drafted in their entire history since the draft began.

    Adjusted for age, era and league only 2 other players in the last 25 years, in all the combined chl leagues, have had better records than Marner. McDavid and Crosby and that’s it!

    If he plays all 82 games Marner will outscore everyone on the leafs including JVR and will easily walk away with rookie of the year.

    In 3 years Marner and McDavid will be the only two acceptable answers to the question: who is the best player in the world?

  • DJ_44

    Lets put the koolaid away kids….

    …based on the averaged projected points in the table above the leafs will go from worst team in the league to offensive juggernaut….amassing a team goals total of…wait for it….275 goals…9 more than 15/16 league leading Dallas.

    i applaud Dom for his restraint…..he has the leafs at number 3 in the league at 242….or just ahead of Pittsburgh

    i take it these numbers didn’t go thru the “best in the league analytics department” …..or did they?

    (ave player pts per goal is about 2.7)

      • DJ_44

        Fair point. I must have missed the sidebar.

        In interest of fairness:

        Re-running your numbers, dressing 12 and 6; and subtracting the Average point projection for forwards (x3) and D (x2),(since you projected 15 and 8 respectively, you get a more realistic 208 team goals.

        What is your projection for team goals.

  • DJ_44

    Point predictions:

    Marner 60 (+ 2017 Calder Trophy!)
    JVR 55
    Nylander 45
    Kadri 42
    Matthews 40
    Connor Brown(underrated player who I consider my son)37
    Jim Vesey (?) 35 (if he signs here)
    Bozak 32
    Komarov 30
    Soshnikov 27

    Others: 20 and under

    Defense

    Rielly 35
    Gardiner 30
    Carrick 28
    Zaitsev 21

    Others: 10 and under