Toronto Maple Leafs trends similar to recent seasons’ performances
By James Reeve10 months ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs have begun the 2022-23 season with a 4-3-1 record. It is not a particularly impressive record for a team that broke the franchise record in regular season points last year, but it does trend similarly to recent seasons.
As the Toronto Maple Leafs sit in the centre of the hockey universe, there always seems to be a closer eye on the team’s performances right out of the gate. It’s understandable that a positive start is desired, especially after yet another first round exit in the playoffs, but an 82-game campaign is a long one and getting off to a slower start does not mean that the team is bad and will perform poorly throughout the year.
In fact, picking up four wins sits quite nicely with the Leafs’ average over the past six seasons, dating back to the rookie campaigns of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander. The record-breaking year the team had in 2021-22, which saw the team claim 115 points in the regular season and finish second in the Atlantic Division, actually started out significantly worse than this year’s.
Through the opening eight games of the 2021-22 season, the Leafs sported a 3-4-1 record. They would finish the month of October with the exact number of points that they currently have after picking up a win in their final tilt of the opening month against the Detroit Red Wings. Despite this poor record, the team went on to dominate for much of the season and shattered the franchise record by 10 points come season’s end.
The year before, in the Covid-shortened 2021 season, the Leafs had a much stronger start with a 6-2-0 record, which equals their best start since 2016 with the 17-18 and 18-19 seasons. The 16-17 season understandably was the worst start for the team since the beginning of the ‘new era’, with the team registering just two wins and three overtime points through their opening eight, showing that this season start is by no means a disaster.
In fact, the 2022-23 season has begun exactly the same as the 2019-20 season, with the team going 4-3-1 before finishing the year third in the Atlantic with 81 points and 36 wins through 70 games before the regular season was curtailed due to the emerging Coronavirus pandemic.
Nine points through their opening eight games this year is also not a terrible return when looking at how the team is stacking up in the league standings. Yes, the team is currently ranked 11th in the entire league, but they rank sixth in the Eastern Conference alone and sit in the very familiar third spot in the Atlantic Division, behind the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers.
Away from home has been the biggest struggle for the Leafs so far, who have a 1-2-1 record through four games, while at home they have looked much more like themselves, going 3-1-0. If the team is able to tighten up in some areas, and Auston Matthews can find his goal scoring touch once again, then it is a reasonable expectation that the Leafs will be able to find their groove and start to emerge as the contenders they look like on paper.
However, there is no real reason to be overly concerned by the team’s current record as history tells us they will be able to turn things around and at least finish the season among the top three teams in their division. The regular season does matter, despite what many people often say, but in reality as long as the team finishes on the right side of the post-season standings that’s what is the most important thing.
Beyond that, this team’s target must be to perform at their best once the playoffs rolls around and if that means starting off slowly and building momentum as the season progresses, perhaps now is not the time to be overly worried about the Toronto Maple Leafs.
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