Milestone watch: Leafs 2021-22 Edition
Photo credit:© Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
By Mark Norman1 year ago
Leafs fans may roll their eyes at the idea of celebrating individual accomplishments next season, and perhaps rightly so considering the team’s annual struggles come playoff time, but there are some notable milestones on the horizon for some Leafs that justify keeping an eye on.
In this article we’ll focus on upcoming games played, goals, assists, points and wins milestones for Leafs players, both for their overall NHL career and also their career as a Maple Leaf. Any milestones that felt very unlikely to be achieved this season, such as 47-goal seasons from Mitch Marner or William Nylander, were removed for the sake of focusing on what seemed achievable.
For Games Played, we looked at any multiples of a hundred (100, 200, 300…) that were within 82 games’ grasp:
Barring injury, most of the players on this listing should hit their specific milestones, with the most noteworthy ones being @Wayne Simmonds’ quest for 1000 games and @Jason Spezza playing in game 1200. Even with splitting starts, @Jack Campbell (14 games) and @Petr Mrazek (25 games) should get the starts needed to hit 100 and 300 games played respectively. @Adam Brooks (82 games) and @Kurtis Gabriel (51 games) may be hard-pressed to hit the 100 games played milestone this season, but without knowing how Sheldon Keefe is going to round out his bottom six we’ve left them on the list.
In terms of games played as Maple Leafs, many of the records in this listing are duplicative of the NHL Career listing above: all names but TJ Brodie, Wayne Simmonds, @Jake Muzzin and @Alexander Kerfoot have only ever played for the Leafs. There’s potential for the pairing of Muzzin and @Justin Holl to hit 200 GP as a Leaf in the same game.
There’s no telling what’s going to happen with @Morgan Rielly’s next contract, but he could find himself as high as 13th on the Leafs’ all-time games played list by the end of the season. 68 games would lift him past Todd Gill into 13th all-time among Maple Leafs skaters, and 6th all-time among Leafs defenders.
For Goals we looked at any multiples of 50, starting with the 100-goal mark (100, 150, 200…). Just two players are within reach of notable goal milestones this season.
We’re pretty confident @Auston Matthews is going to score the one goal necessary to hit the 200 goal plateau, but if last season’s 64 goal pace is any indication he should not have much trouble hitting 250 in the same season. What is less certain is whether captain @John Tavares will score the 36 goals necessary to hit 400 in his incredible career. He hasn’t scored at that pace since 2018-19. Maybe a reunion with Mitch Marner will get him there?
Whether or not Tavares will score his 100th goal as a Leaf this season isn’t in doubt. It’s more a matter of when he’ll notch his eighth of the season: I’m going with November 18th.
It’s pretty amazing how quickly Auston Matthews has climbed the all-time leaderboard for goals by a Leaf, sitting 14th all-time after just five seasons. What’s even crazier is he should break into the franchise’s top 10 before season’s end. The only question is how high he goes… is eighth-place Wendel Clark (61 goals away) out of reach?
For Assists we looked at any multiples of 100 (100, 200, 300…) that were reasonably within grasp this season.
The only stretch here might be Rielly getting 54 assists, but he’s put up 52 before so it’s not entirely impossible, especially in a contract year. It all comes down to how the Leafs powerplay fares this season, and whether Rielly is going to hold onto his spot on the first unit.
As noted earlier, when Toronto is all you know, your NHL and Maple Leafs career numbers are going to match.
It looks as if Matthews will crack the top 10 in Leafs goals by the end of this season and @Mitch Marner should do the same for assists. Marner has put up an 82-game pace of 69 assists over the last three seasons. Hitting that mark in 2021-22 would result in 324 assists, pulling him three assists ahead of Doug Gilmour for ninth place.
For Points we looked at any multiples of 100 (100, 200, 300…) that were reasonably within grasp this season.
It’s very special that @Jason Spezza has a chance to hit both 1200 games played and 1000 points with the Leafs this season. Tavares may be in tough to put up the 81 points necessary to hit 900, but he’s hovered near a point per game over the last two seasons so some puck luck may get him there.
It should be interesting to see which one of Mitch Marner or Auston Matthews hits 400 points as a Leaf first. Marner tends to win these battles because Matthews tends to miss more games, but if both players play around the same number of games it could be anyone’s race.
Marner and Matthews had 82-game paces of 99 and 104 points respectively last season, which if repeated would have them both passing Doug Gilmour on the Leafs’ all-time list, finishing 15th and 16th. Tim Horton is probably safe for this season.
For Wins we looked at any multiples of 50 (50, 100, 150…) that felt within reach this season.
Career-wise, Petr Mrazek is 22 wins away from 150 for his career, while Jack Campbell is ten away from 50. Campbell’s a slam dunk, and the Leafs would be especially thrilled with that many wins from Mrazek.
There’s not much to share here from a Maple Leafs Career perspective since Mrazek and Campbell have a combined 28 games played for the Leafs between them. Campbell is currently 33rd all-time in wins for the Leafs with 20, which is surprisingly high for a one hundred year old franchise. Assuming the Leafs’ goaltending duo evenly splits starts this season, Campbell is likely to put up around 20-25 wins which would land him above @Jonas Gustavsson (39) and @Andrew Raycroft (39) on the Leafs’ all-time wins list. Definitely two guys you want to be ahead of on any leaderboard.
So there you have it, a full breakdown of the various milestones your 2021-22 Leafs may achieve this year. Here’s hoping those personal achievements can help drive some better team outcomes come next spring.
Which milestone are you most excited for? Are there any on this listing that feel unachievable? Just how high will a specific player land by the end of their tenure as a Leaf? Let us know in the comments.
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