National Hockey League

Atlantic Division Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs

nhl8TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS: TEAM LOOK-AHEAD
The Maple Leafs can become the fifth Canada-based franchise in NHL history to reach the 100-point mark in three or more consecutive seasons. Toronto would join Montreal from 1974-75 to 1981-82 (8 straight), Edmonton from 1981-82 to 1986-87 (6 straight), Ottawa from 2002-03 to 2006-07 (4 straight) and Vancouver from 2008-09 to 2011-12 (4 straight).

The Maple Leafs have clinched a Stanley Cup Playoffs berth in four or more consecutive seasons three times in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68), doing so from 1973-74 to 1980-81 (8 straight), 1992-93 to 1995-96 (4 straight) and 1998-99 to 2003-04 (6 straight).

SEASON-OPENING STATS
* Auston Matthews, one of four players in League history to score four or more goals in his NHL debut (4-0—4 on Oct. 12, 2016 at OTT), can become the third player to score a hat trick in two season openers. The only two skaters who have done so are Cam Neely (1994-95, 1995-96) and Brendan Shanahan (1993-94, 2001-02).

* Matthews has scored at least one goal in all three season-opening games of his NHL career (7-2—9). A goal on Oct. 2 would make him the fourth player in League history to score in each of his first four career season openers; he would join Dit Clapper (1927-28 – 1930-31), Dave Andreychuk (1982-83 – 1985-86) and Sergei Fedorov (1990-91 –1993-94).

* Only two players in franchise history have scored eight or more career goals in season-opening games: Babe Dye (9-1—10 in 5 GP) and Darryl Sittler (8-4—12 in 12 GP).

OFFENSIVE OUTLOOK
* John Tavares can become the fourth player in franchise history to reach the 40-goal mark in consecutive seasons; Lanny McDonald from 1976-77 to 1978-79 (3 straight), Rick Vaive from 1981-82 to 1983-84 (3 straight) and Darryl Sittler from 1979-80 to 1980-81 (2 straight) are the only Maple Leafs players to accomplish the feat. Another 40-goal season would also make him the second player in franchise history to score 80 or more combined tallies through his first two seasons with Toronto, joining Eddie Olczyk from 1987-88 to 1988-89 (80-85—165 in 160 GP).

* Auston Matthews, the only player to debut with the Maple Leafs and score 30 or more goals in each of his first three NHL seasons all with the franchise, can eclipse Jimmy Carson (1986-67, 1987-88, 1988-89) and become the first U.S.-born player in League history to reach the plateau in four consecutive campaigns to begin his career. The franchise record for most consecutive seasons with 30 goals is eight (NHL debut or otherwise), a mark set by Sittler from 1973-74 to 1980-81.

* Restricted free agent Mitch Marner can become the first Toronto player to reach the 90-point mark in consecutive seasons since Doug Gilmour in 1992-93 (32-95—127 in 83 GP) and 1993-94 (27-84—111 in 83 GP). Aside from Gilmour, only two other players in franchise history have recorded multiple 90-point seasons: Sittler (1975-76, 1976-77, 1977-78, 1979-80, 1980-81) and McDonald (1975-76, 1976-77), who also did so in consecutive fashion.

* Morgan Rielly can join Ian Turnbull (1975-76, 1976-77) as the second defenseman in franchise history to reach the 20-goal mark in consecutive seasons; Al Iafrate (1987-88, 1989-90) is the only other blueliner to record multiple 20-goal campaigns in a Maple Leafs uniform (consecutive or otherwise). Rielly can also become the second Toronto defenseman to record multiple 70-point seasons, a feat Borje Salming accomplished in four straight campaigns from 1976-77 to 1979-80.

* Offseason acquisitions Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci are set to join the Maple Leafs’ defense corps this season. The franchise record for most combined regular-season points in a season by defensemen is 241, a mark set in 1976-77 (53-188—241).

THE FUTURE IS NOW
* Restricted free agent Mitch Marner (67-157—224 in 241 GP) celebrated his 22nd birthday on May 5, while Auston Matthews (111-94—205 in 212 GP) is set to turn 22 on Sept. 17. Marner trails only Vincent Damphousse (104-180—284 in 349 GP) and Ted Kennedy (119-116—235 in 263 GP) for the most career regular-season points by a Maple Leafs player before celebrating their 23rd birthday; Matthews, meanwhile, is just eight regular-season goals shy of tying Kennedy for the most by a Toronto player age 22 or younger.

* Marner can become the first player in franchise history to conclude a season leading the team in points three different times before the age of 23. He would surpass Busher Jackson (1931-32,1932-33), Kennedy (1944-45, 1946-47) and Eddie Olczyk (1987-88, 1988-89), who all achieved the feat twice before celebrating their 23rd birthday.

* Four Maple Leafs rookies have reached the 20-goal mark since 2016-17, the highest such total among all teams in that span.

BETWEEN THE PIPES
* Frederik Andersen can become the first goaltender in franchise history reach the 30-win mark in four seasons. He would eclipse Turk Broda (1946-47, 1947-48, 1949-50), Johnny Bower (1959-60, 1960-61, 1961-62) and Curtis Joseph (1998-99, 1999-00, 2000-01), who each recorded at least 30 wins in three campaigns with the Maple Leafs.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
A look at how players have fared historically in their debut game/season with the franchise:

First game with the Maple Leafs/St. Patricks/Arenas. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 4 – 2 players; most recent: Auston Matthews (Oct. 12, 2016)
Most assists: 3 – 2 players; most recent: Brian Leetch (March 4, 2004)
Most points: 4 – 2 players; most recent: Auston Matthews (Oct. 12, 2016)

DEFENSEMEN
Most goals: 2 – 2 players; most recent: Joe Matte (Jan. 17, 1920)
Most assists: 3 – Brian Leetch (March 4, 2004)
Most points: 3 – 2 players; most recent: Brian Leetch (March 4, 2004)

GOALTENDERS
Most saves: 48 – Ken Wregget (Dec. 8, 1983)
Shutout: 5 – most recent: Garret Sparks (Nov. 30, 2015)

First season with Maple Leafs/St. Patricks/Arenas. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 47 – John Tavares (2018-19)
Most assists: 49 – Larry Murphy (1995-96)
Most points: 88 – John Tavares (2018-19)

DEFENSEMEN
Most goals: 17 – Harry Cameron (1917-18)
Most assists: 49 – Larry Murphy (1995-96)
Most points: 61 – Larry Murphy (1995-96)

GOALTENDERS
Most wins: 37 – 2 goaltenders; most recent: Andrew Raycroft (2006-07)
Most shutouts: 10 – 2 goaltenders; most recent: Harry Lumley (1952-53)

— NHL Public Relations

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