Toronto Maple Leafs: Statistical comparisons with the Pittsburgh Penguins

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 17: Auston Matthews
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 17: Auston Matthews /

With another year of growth for the star-filled Toronto Maple Leafs team, it’s likely their stats resemble the likes of the Pittsburgh Penguins next season.

The Toronto Maple Leafs did something this past season which is pretty difficult to do. In 2016, they were a lottery team, and in 2017, they became a playoff team. Obviously the lack of success in that tank year was deliberate, but the differences between the two seasons is astounding.

2015-2016 season:

  • 29-42-11 for 69 points (.421 point percentage)
  • Last in the Atlantic Division (30th in the league)
  • Goals for 198
  • Goals against 246

2016-2017 season:

  • 40-27-15 for 95 points (.579 point percentage)
  • Fourth in the Atlantic (14th in the league)
  • Goals for 251
  • Goals against 242

With the influx of skill and talent acquired this past season, there’s no reason why there wouldn’t be the improvement that the team saw. Not to mention the impact of Frederik Andersen providing stability as the number one goaltender for the Leafs. It also helps when your leading scorer has more than 45 points.

It’ll be another year for the young players, and well expect them to be better. But how better can they be?

Statistical Improvements

For starters, finishing within the top three of the Atlantic Division shouldn’t be a problem. Toronto was only eight points shy of first place and could be in that position again. As for the goals for and goals against, there’s no reason why the team cannot get close to or replicate the Pittsburgh Penguins’ numbers.

Pittsburgh this past season scored 31 more goals and allowed eight fewer than the Leafs. Toronto should see their goals against total decrease next season. One of the main reasons they dropped a lot of games is because they’d give up a lead or lose in overtime. Additionally, Andersen struggled in the beginning of the season adjusting to the new system.

Andersen showed Leafs fans what he was capable of as the season went on, and throughout the playoffs. If that continues, and the defensive woes from the previous season don’t return, the Leafs should be able to keep the puck out of their own net more often.

Adding an extra 31 goals may be tricky. Auston Matthews could definitely reach close to the same total as he did this past season. William Nylander and Mitch Marner should be able to light the lamp more often.

Related Story: Babcock's Expectations for Matthews

Free agent signing Patrick Marleau should be able to help in that department as well. He scored 27 goals last season, and has shown no signs of slowing down yet. Another thing to keep in mind is James van Riemsdyk‘s mindset going into October. His future with the Leafs isn’t 100% confirmed, so in a contract year he will have perform at a higher level for other teams as well. The “show me” year always seems to bring out the best in players.

No one is saying that the Leafs will win the cup next season or be the next Pittsburgh Penguins. However, Toronto has the capabilities and growth to improve in every area and have an even better season than last year. It was the Pens who the Leafs had to beat in order to clinch a playoff berth in what had to be one of the top moments of the season.

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