The Toronto Maple Leafs score a lot of goals. They were fourth in the league last year with 286. I predicted they would top 300 last year. They fell short, but scoring is up and they could reach the lofty 300 goal plateau this upcoming season. The Tampa Bay Lightning scored an amazing 325, becoming the fourth team since 1997 to score more than 300. The Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks each came close with 289 apiece. A full season of William Nylander and with some more experience under their belts could enable the Maple Leafs to lead the league in scoring this season.
How Many Goals Will The Toronto Maple Leafs Score This Season
Let’s assume Mitch Marner signs a contract in time to start the season. There are still rumours of offer sheets floating around out there, some outright ridiculous, but as time passes it gets more and more likely Marner will sign with Toronto. The biggest question at this point regarding Marner is how long will he sign for and will the Maple Leafs need to move a player to fit Marner’s contract under their cap? If they do need to move a player to fit Marner, Cody Ceci seems the most logical choice. Inexplicably, Kyle Dubas appears intent on keeping Ceci in the lineup. For the sake of this article, we’ll just assume Marner is playing and the team doesn’t lose an offensive threat to fit him into the roster.
Marner scored 26 last year. Regardless of how much money he makes, it’s hard to see him scoring too much more than that. Let’s pencil him in for 25 goals.
The Rest Of The Big Three
The other two legs of the Maple Leafs main triad are Auston Matthews and John Tavares. They combined for 84 goals in 150 games. Tavares had a career season playing with Marner. Although it may have been the ‘I’m not a New York Islander anymore‘ effect that saw Tavares score a career-high 47 goals last season.
While Tavares has already found another level, it feels like Matthews could as well. He’s entering his first season with his big, shiny new deal that will see him get paid $11.634 million a season. If he stays healthy, there’s no reason he can’t get close to 50. Add his total to Tavares’ and this duo could crack 90 or 95 goals next season.
The Smaller Big Three
The next group of forwards expected to help the Toronto Maple Leafs score copious amounts of goals next season starts with Nylander. Last year, after sitting out till December, Nylander played in only 54 games and had only seven goals. It’s not the number of games played that hurt his total. Matthews scored his 37 in just 68 games.
Nylander struggled because he missed training camp and the first two months of the season. By playoffs, he was looking better, but this year he’s coming to camp on time and he’s got something to prove. His best season saw him score 22 goals and after last season’s debacle, it’s hard to assume he’ll suddenly break out with 30 or more goals. It’s possible, but conservative predictions put him back in that 20-25 goal range.
The next two wingers in this group are Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen. Two players that may be linked together as long as they play together in Toronto. Either of them could be trade fodder to fit Marner into the cap if Dubas can’t figure out a better way. They each had 20 goals last season. They both stand a good chance of improving this season and combing for 50 goals between them.
Empty Net King
Zach Hyman scored 21 goals last year. He also led the NHL in empty-net goals with six. Four of Marner’s 26 goals last season were empty-net goals if we’re paying attention to that sort of thing. Hyman will be hard-pressed to reach 20 again this season, especially since he’s expected to miss training camp and at least the first month of the season. He may continue his empty-net dominance, but 10 goals is probably a good estimate.
The New Guy
Alexander Kerfoot has 34 career goals in 157 games. It’s fair to say he could break 20 goals this season playing behind two juggernauts in Matthews and Tavares, but that’s not a given, and he could fall well short. Nazem Kadri, now with the Colorado Avalanche, went from back to back 32-goal campaigns to just 16 last year centring the third line behind Matthews and Tavares. Kerfoot could find himself around that total as well.
Toronto Maple Leafs Score On Depth
Rounding out the roster is a host of players both young and old including Jason Spezza, Trevor Moore, Nic Petan, Nick Shore, Ilya Mikheyev, and Kenny Agostino among others. They round out the bottom-six and will be tasked with replacing the production of Patrick Marleau, Tyler Ennis, and Connor Brown. Those three former Maple Leafs combined for 36 goals last season. Can the crew still with the team match that, or even better it? Maybe, but 30 may be a better estimate.
That brings the goals by forwards up to about 245 on the season.
The defence is annually criticized for not being good enough. Not good enough for a contending team expecting to go deep into the playoffs. On some levels, that’s true, although the addition of Tyson Barrie will solve many, but not all, of the team’s defensive woes. Of course, if players like Ceci and Ben Harpur can’t find another level and Travis Dermott doesn’t continue to improve, the Maple Leafs may find themselves in the same hole they’re always in.
One thing few people will criticize the Maple Leafs’ defence is a lack of offence. Morgan Rielly had 72 points and 20 goals last season. Jake Muzzin had five goals in 30 games, and Barrie had 59 points and 14 goals for Colorado. Toronto’s defence could easily pot 50 goals as a group next season.
If the defence scores around 50, that may bring the Maple Leafs closer to 300 goals than they were last season. It may not be enough to catch Tampa Bay in the goals for department. It doesn’t mean they’ll do enough on defence (including the forward group) to take a step forward as a group, but they sure will be exciting to watch. An improved power play and motivation to win home ice could help the Maple Leafs dethrone Tampa Bay as the league’s most potent offence.