There were 270 Toronto Maple Leafs goals for last season. That was enough to be third overall in league scoring, tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins. An optimist would look at the addition of John Tavares and say that number is sure to go up. Despite the departure of 36 goals with James van Riemsdyk. There’s a very good chance the Maple Leafs will score more than 270 goals next year. There’s a good chance the Maple Leafs will score 300 goals next year. And it’s not just Tavares that will get them there.
An Optimistic Look At Toronto Maple Leafs Goals For
Replacing What The Maple Leafs Lost
This offseason, the Maple Leafs lost van Riemsdyk (36 goals), Tyler Bozak (11 goals), Leo Komarov (7 goals), Dominic Moore (6 goals), Matt Martin (3 goals), Roman Polak (2 goals), and Tomas Plekanec (0 goals). That’s a total of 65 goals. But only van Riemsdyk scored with consistency. Replacing his goal production is an actual concern. The remaining 29 goals could be replaced by just about any six serviceable NHLers. The players on this list not named van Riemsdyk scored their 29 goals in a total of 326 games last season. That’s a scoring rate of 0.09 goals per game.
Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen played in 47 games last season scoring nine goals. That’s a scoring rate of 0.19 goals per game. extend that over an 82 game season and that’s 31 goals between them. Those two alone should replace almost half the goals lost by player departure. That may even be a conservative estimate for those two, but more on that in a bit.
Tavares scored 37 goals last season, one more than van Riemsdyk. Between him, Johnsson and Kapanen, the Maple Leafs, on paper, shouldn’t have difficulty replacing all the goals lost to free agency this year. But if the Maple Leafs are going to be successful with the score yourself out of trouble mantra, they’ll need more than just 270 goals.
Players That Will Score More Next Season
Auston Matthews was second on the team was goals scored last season with 34. He did that in just 62 games. He had 40 in his rookie season in a full 82 games. If Matthews stays healthy, he is likely to score 40 or more again next season. Another factor that will help Matthews is having another centre on the team as talented as he is.
Last season it was an easy decision how to match up against the Matthews line, the best players got the call. The same could be said for teams playing the New York Islanders. The best players went up against Tavares. Now teams will have to pick their poison, Matthews or Tavares. Both are capable of 35-40 goals against other team’s best. Scoring 50 goals is not out of the question for either one, if they consistently stay away from opponents top lines. It’s reasonable to think the two could combine for 80-90 goals next season.
The other two top forwards for the Maple Leafs are William Nylander and Mitch Marner. They scored 20 and 22 goals respectively. If they are worth what many believe, which ranges anywhere from 6 to 10 million a year depending on who you ask, they’ll need to score more than 20 goals a season. Both are capable of 30 goal seasons, especially if one is playing with Matthews and the other with Tavares.
Johnsson and Kapanen will play down the lineup, probably on the third line with Nazem Kadri. They’re already pencilled in here to score about 30 goals between them. But they’re both quick and talented and playing with no offensive slouch in Kadri. Here’s where the optimistic part really kicks in. Both are capable of scoring 20 goals or more each. With Matthews and Tavares drawing the best lines, these speedy wingers should have all the time and space they need to put up relatively big numbers.
Players That Might Score Less Next Season
At 38 years old, wonder kid Patrick Marleau scored 27 goals last season. Marleau is an anomaly. He’s not Jaromir Jagr status yet, but 27 goals at age 38 is impressive by any standard. It’s hard to imagine there won’t be some drop-off.
Kadri has had back-to-back 32 goal seasons. What’s amazing about that is he’s scored at that rate while focusing on the defensive side of the game. Prior to the last two seasons, his best year saw him score only 20 goals, although he also had 18 in 48 games in the lockout-shortened season. He might have had another 30 goal year that season were it not for that lockout. Kadri may continue his 30 goal-scoring prowess next season, but a drop off would not be all that surprising either.
Zach Hyman scored 15 times on the top line last season. He could score that again, but he could also find himself playing down the line up if Marleau replaces him on Matthews’ line and one of Johnsson or Kapanen prove worthy of promotion to the Tavares line. If he plays more of a checking role and penalty killing specialist, his goal total will drop.
The Defence (Offensively Not Defensively)
The defence scored 32 goals last season. Morgan Rielly led the group with six goals. Nikita Zaitsev and Jake Gardiner each had five. For comparison’s sake, Pittsburgh’s defence had 38 goals and the Tampa Bay Lightning, who lead the league in goals for last season with 290, got 48 from their defence core. There isn’t a lot to suggest this group will score significantly more or less next season. Unless they play Justin Holl and his career average of one goal per game more than two games.
The Fourth Line
The fourth line for the Maple Leafs will probably consist of three of Connor Brown, Par Lindholm, Tyler Ennis, Adam Cracknell, Josh Leivo, Josh Jooris, and Carl Grundstrom. There are two former 20 goals scorers in that group in Brown and Ennis. Considering that, it’s reasonable to assume this group as a whole can score at least 20 goals.
How The Can Get to 300
Here’s the optimistic count.
Matthews and Tavares combine for 85 goals.
Nylander and Marner combine for 60 goals.
Marleau scores 20 goals.
Johnsson and Kapanen combine for 40 goals.
Kadri scores 30 goals again.
The defence scores 35 goals.
That’s 270 goals for eight forwards and the entire defence. If Hyman can score 10 and the entire fourth line can score 20 more. That puts the Maple Leafs at 300 goals for.
Only three teams have scored 300 or more goals in a season since 1997. The 2009-2010 Washingon Capitals had 313, the 2005-2006 Ottawa Senators had 312, and the 2005-2006 Detroit Red Wings had 301. The Maple Leafs could be the fourth team.