By Stan Smith
The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to follow the same script in the 2022-23 season as they did in the 2021-22 season. But, will the season turn out the same way last season ended with the team’s Stanley Cup ambitions cut short?
The Maple Leafs Started Poorly in Both 2021-22 and 2022-23
In our post yesterday for The Hockey Writers, we wrote about how eerily similar the months of October and November were for both 2021 and 2022. To review, in October 2021, the Maple Leafs had a record of 4-4-1 in nine games. In October 2022 their record was 4-4-2 in ten games.
In November 2021, the team posted a record of 12-2-0. Then, in November 2022, their record was 11-1-3. Over the two months, they had a record of 16-6-1 in 2021 and 15-5-5 in 2022. Only two points separated their point totals for those two months, 33 points in 2021 to 35 points in 2022.
Comparing December 2021 to December 2022
Now we have the month of December. This month is a bit more difficult to compare. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic and the resulting cancelled or postponed hockey games, the Maple Leafs only played seven games in 2021 posting a 4-2-1 record. Because of the lack of games played in December 2021, the Maple Leafs were forced to cram more games into a shorter period of time later in the season.
In December 2022, the Maple Leafs played a total of 12 games and finished the month with a record of 8-3-1. To more accurately compare the records for the two seasons, we have decided to compare records for the 12 games played starting on December 2021.
If we look at the 12 games played between December 1, 2021, and January 14, 2022, we see the Maple Leafs’ record was 7-3-2. Similar to the combined months of October and November over the two seasons, there was only one point difference between their next 12 games in each season, 17 points this season, to 16 points last season.
The Maple Leafs’ Overall Records for October, November & December Compared
Looking at the overall record for the Maple Leafs in the months of October, November, and December 2022 and comparing it to the 2021-22 season starting from game one and extending through to January 14th, 2022, they are extremely close. Last season they went 23-9-3 in 35 games for a total of 49 points. This season they played 37 games total and posted a record of 23-8-6 for a total of 52 points.
Comparing the team’s record for exactly 35 games between the two seasons shows that each season looks like this. In 2021-22, the Maple Leafs put together a 23-9-3 record for 49 points. In 2022-23, the Maple Leafs put together a 22-7-6 record for 50 points.
If the Maple Leafs continue at exactly the same pace they have played to this point this season they would finish the 2022-23 season with 115 points. That’s exactly the same number of points they finished with last season.
But, as Maple Leafs Fans Know, the Regular Season Doesn’t Matter
We will have to hope the postseason does not replicate itself the same as the regular season has to this point. Now is the time for the team to step up. This team has star power led by forwards Auston Matthews, John Tavares, William Nylander, and Mitch Marner. It has a great team defence led by Morgan Rielly and Mark Giordano. It also has strong goalie play led by Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov.
Can this be the season to go far in the playoffs? Hope so!