Leafs captain John Tavares beginning to show signs of decline
Photo credit: NHL

Disappointing development emerges regarding Leafs captain John Tavares

Published January 16, 2024 at 11:53
BY DEAN CHAUDHRY

The Toronto Maple Leafs' issues don't necessarily extend to their offense that currently sits 5th in the league in goals scored, 6th in shots on goal, 10th in shooting percentage, while owning the 6th best power play unit. It more so has to do with the distribution and that needs to change as soon as possible.

William Nylander paces the club with 36 assists and 57 points in just 41 games, Auston Matthews has an NHL-leading 33 goals to go along with 48 points, and Mitch Marner has 18 goals and 46 points to round out the top. After that it's a steep drop off, and perhaps the most alarming situation relates to the team's captain, John Tavares.

Tavares is currently tied for 4th on the club with 34 points through 41 games, well below the point per game mark. For most, 34 points in 41 games would be a good start to the season. However, for someone with an $11 million cap hit and a career trajectory of scoring at a near point per game pace, his struggles haven't helped the cause and are more than mildly concerning, especially when you factor in the lack of scoring coming from secondary options like Max Domi and Tyler Bertuzzi.

The issues can be tied to his career-low shooting percentage of 8.2% as he only has 12 goals on the season. However, Tavares is also mired in a 13-game slump with just 3 goals and 5 points to his name and it's not coincidental that the Leafs have struggled to the tune of a 5-6-2 record in that stretch.


Tavares' impact is just as important as anyone else at the top. He might not score 45-50+ goals like Matthews, he might not be a wizard-like playmaker like Marner, or have the explosiveness and edge-work of Nylander but his consistency of scoring 30+ goals and nearing 80 points since donning the Blue and White has been crucial. Now, with that consistency missing, it's no wonder the Leafs are struggling.

Even beyond this 13-game stretch, Tavares has just 15 points in his last 25 games and is on pace for 24 goals and 68 points, which would be his lowest full-season totals since 2016-17 when he tallied 66 points in 77 games with a struggling New York Islanders team shortly before departing for greener pastures in Toronto.

The club needs a lot more from their captain if they plan to break off from their recent struggles and make a real impact heading into April.

POLL
January 16   |   1509 answers
Disappointing development emerges regarding Leafs captain John Tavares

Will John Tavares pull it together and finish above 75 points?

Yes66744.2 %
No84255.8 %
LIST OF POLL
Latest 10 stories