With the Toronto Maple Leafs making a swift exit in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it is worth revisiting their overall regular season and playoff performance.
Starting out with regular season player performance, the top scorers were none other than Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner both scoring 60 goals and 106 points and 35 goals and 97 points respectively. William Nylander came in third for overall stats with 34 goals and 80 points and captain John Tavares came out fourth with 27 goals and 76 points. These are extremely good performances for the top core of the Leafs and Auston Matthews’ goal scoring output raising the NHL goal average to 3.15 goals per game, the highest league average in nearly 30 years. Matthews also being the first player since Steven Stamkos in 2012 to reach a 60-goal plateau prior to the playoffs in the 2021-22 season. In the playoffs, Matthews and Marner contributed almost evenly with 4 goals and 2 goals each respectively. Matthews coming out on top of both charts, while simultaneously setting a new league and franchise record is great news for the Leafs’ future. Matthews already being one of the top goal scorers in the league at only 24, he is already proving to be a one-of-a-kind player. So, while the Leafs didn’t make it to Round 2 of the playoffs, they still have a gem to boast and record numbers under their belt.
In the first month of the regular season, the Leafs won their home opener against the Montreal Canadians, last season’s Stanley Cup finalist, 2-1. Winning 4 games in their first month of the season, the Leafs had a long way to go to make it to playoff contention. November proved to be a much better month for the Leafs, winning 12 of 14 games, only losing to the Penguins and the Kings. Jack Campbell had an impeccable performance with 3 shutouts in November alone. December was a much shorter and less eventful month with only 4 wins and no games taking place from the 19th to the 29th of December due to COVID-19 restrictions. January brought 8 wins but this only continued a steady upward trend for the Leafs. Throughout February and March, the Leafs won 7 and 8 games, with their final regular season game being played against the Winnipeg Jets with a win of 7-3. Prior to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Toronto Maple Leafs placed second in the Atlantic Division just under the Florida Panthers whom were rumored to be Cup contenders. With a stellar player performance, and steady regular season wins the Leafs almost seemed unstoppable, even against back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning, who they would face off with in Round 1 of the playoffs.
On April 9th, 2022, the Maple Leafs clinched a playoff spot with a 3–2 win against the Montreal Canadiens. With a 4–2 win over the New York Islanders on April 17th, the Maple Leafs set franchise records in both wins, 50, and points, 106. The Leafs qualified for the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season but they were beat in the first round by the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning, losing in seven games, despite their original lead of 3–2 in the series. With the Florida Panthers winning a playoff series for the first time since 1996, Toronto now holds the NHL’s longest active playoff drought, the Leafs not having won a playoff series since 2004.
Overall, the Toronto Maple Leafs had an outstanding regular season performance companied with a disheartening loss in the playoffs. However, with their current goal production and rising stardom, the Leafs are on the path to eventual victory. It being only a matter of time until the Leafs are simply too good to lose.