Maple Leafs Astounding Start in the 2018-2019 Season

Maple Leafs Astounding Start in the 2018-2019 Season

Jack Wright, Contributor

Maple Leafs Astounding Start in the 2018-2019 Season

Jack Wright ’21, Contributor

NHL teams across the country have begun the 2018-2019 season, and there has been an influx of speculation about the teams that w

ill prove themselves. The Toronto Maple Leafs have won the race out of the gates and beginning their season 6-1 with a goal differential of +10. The Maple Leafs are currently first in the league and have the most goals at 33, eight ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes. The Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators, and New Jersey Devils are in close pursuit of the Leafs.

During the off-season the Leafs acquired talented center and former captain of the New York Islanders, John Tavares. Tavares has helped lead the Leafs offensive efforts along with teammates Auston Mathews and Mitchell Marner. Tavares said going into the season that “he is excited to join the Leafs and cannot wait for a successful season.” Growing  up a

Leafs fan, he happily signed a 7-year $77,000,000 contract.

Besides acquiring John Tavares, Auston Matthews begins his second season as a Leaf after his record breaking 2017-2018 rookie season. Matthews is stoked about having Tavares on the team this year. He expects this to be the best Leafs’ team since they won the cup 51 years ago in 1967. Auston Matthews is on fire to start the season and leads the league in total points (16), goals (10), and is tied for 1st place for power-play goals (4) along with Washington center Evgeny Kuznetsov and New Jersey forward Kyle Palmieri. Auston Mathews is widely considered around the league by critics and players to be a top 10 player in the league behind Edmonton’s star player Connor McDavid.

Along with Tavares and Matthews, other Leafs are having break-out years. Another young forward, Mitchell Marner, is off to a great start in his 3rd season with the Leafs making big plays in big moments. He is 5th in points (11) along with teammate Tavares in the league. Defenseman Morgan Rielly has been productive on the offensive side this year and is second in the league among all players in points (13), tied with Boston’s Patrice Bergeron. Rielly leads the NHL in assists with 10 assists.

Although the Leafs offensive is very strong this year, the defense is lacking behind. The Leafs invested a large portion of money into their forwards and didn’t leave any to pick up stellar defense-men. The Leafs have given up 23 goals this season and are 4th in the league for most goals against. This is not a stat the Leafs are proud of, nor should they be. The Leafs defense, however, stacks up well against Pittsburgh’s Penguins 2017 Stanley Cup Champions team. The Leafs seem to be doing fine without a stellar defense. Their defense has been involved offensively and are one of the few teams to have two 50 point defense-men. The Leafs have been given the best odds to win the Stanley Cup by Vegas after their first 9 games. They will definitely be cup contenders in the playoffs whether or not they win the championship.



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