Are the Maple Leafs the NHL's Best Team?

Oh-Canada Dec 15, 2021

Are the Leafs the best team in hockey, right now?  They might be.  Toronto sits in first place, leads the NHL in points, and is the hottest team on the ice with 8 wins in their last ten games.  But will their winning ways last?

Even the Toronto Star asks, "Are the Maple Leafs for real?"

Well, that was a month ago, back on 18 November.  It sure appears that they certainly are, for real.

FANSIDED agrees:

The Toronto Maple Leafs Are Pretty Obviously the NHL’s Best Team

The Toronto Maple Leafs currently lead the NHL in points, wins, regulation wins, and ROW.   Three of the four teams ahead of them by points-percentage combine for 14 OT losses. The Leafs have but two. (stats nhl.com).

But it isn’t just the stats or their place in the standings.  They are a relentless team that can beat you with all four lines.  Their incredibly deep, they have the most talent, and they haven’t even missed a step with Mitch Marner – indisputably among the NHL’s best players – on the shelf.

Welcome to the glory days, my friends.

Toronto Maple Leafs and the Edmonton Oilers

The Leafs weren’t having their best game, so Jack Campbell stepped up, was unbeatable, and gave the team a chance to get their game together.   (stats naturalstattrick.com).

Auston Matthews has somehow added “elite defender” to his resume, making him arguably the best player in hockey.  He has 13 goals in his last 10 games. He has scored in 9 of those 10 games.

Matthews has 62 goals in his last 82 games.  He has over 70 goals in his last 82 home games.  You can now mention his name along side Gretzky, Ovechkin, Bossy and Bure as one of the best ever goal scorers in the history of the game.

Oh and his current hotstreak coincides with Mitch Marner’s injury, meaning 13 in 10 isn’t even him maxxing out.

Yikes, said the goalie!

The Leafs should currently be the favorite to win the Stanley Cup, because not only are they talented, they are deep. They have 2 x first lines, then  Engvall-Kamp-Kase has been the best third line in the league, and their fourth line featuring Simmonds, Spezza and one of a seemingly unlimited number of options is likely the league’s top fourth line.

In last night’s game they made a Cup Contending team with two of the best players in the world on it  look like a joke.  They have had no trouble with Vegas, Colorado or Tampa (they went 1-1 against the Bolts so far, but deserved to win the second game).

The hilarious thing is that Matthews might not even be the team’s MVP right now, because Jack Campbell has been that good.

The Leafs currently have three players in the top ten in scoring, and would have four if Marner wasn’t injured.

As to the actual game, Nick Ritchie was absent (I thought healthy scratched, but he was just sick) for the first time in favor of Brett Seleny, who subbed in for Simmonds.  Ilya Mikheyev returned and took Kase’s spot with the  Kamp-Engvall line and they had their worst night of the year.

Liljegren was moved up to play with Muzzin and things did not go well there either.  Might want to give that another game or two before writing the experiment off completely, but they were terrible last night.

Honestly, it wasn’t the Leafs best game and they probably didn’t even deserve to win. But here is the thing: with Matthews shooting rockets and Campbell in top form, they will win a lot of games they don’t deserve to win. That’s how you become a top team.