This Leafs' power play is the best we have seen in the salary cap era, inclusively

Published April 1, 2022 at 4:16 PM
BY BRADLEY CELSIE
The Toronto Maple Leafs power play is currently operating at a 30% effective rate. To put that into perspective, the highest power play percentage a team finished a season with in the salary cap era is the 2019-2020 Edmonton Oilers (led by McDavid and Draisaitl). They scored 29.5% of the time. Meaning the Leafs are not only the best power play this season, but currently the best power play in the salary cap era.

So who is behind the success? It's not a trick question. The Leafs' top dogs are getting it done. While the second unit has contributed, the likes of Auston Matthews (14 PP goals), Mitch Marner (5 PP goals), Morgan Rielly (2 PP goals), John Tavares (9 PP goals) and William Nylander (10 PP goals) have combined for 40 of the Leafs 54 power play goals. This unit has occupied roughly 70% of the Leafs power play ice time this season.

The Leafs PP has been so effective because they can attack you in so many different ways. Auston Matthew's shot is one of the best in the game. Mitch Marner is well known as one of the best passers in the league, but has become a threat to shoot this season which has helped open up other lanes. Nylander is still a threat to shoot from far out, but has also shown he score goals from in tight. John Tavares is a slot threat for both deflections and shots, but also scores some goals from in tight.

The Toronto Maple Leafs average 4:10 of PP time per game, good for the second lowest in the league (surprise!). Despite that, the Leafs' 54 power play goals is good for second in the league, behind only the top seeded Colorado Avalanche. Simply put, if the Buds had more calls going their way, this could have been an absolutely runaway.


The Leafs PP units will need to continue to produce come playoff time. In last year's first round playoff loss to the Montreal Canadiens, the PP operated at an abysmal 13% (3 for 23). Given the fact that the Leafs lost game 5 & 6 in overtime, it isn't hard to imagine that one timely power play goal could have changed the result of the series. In the 2020 play in series against Columbus, the Powerplay was also costly. The Leafs operated at 15.4% (2 for 13).

If the Leafs want to make it out of the first round, they will need to prove that they can produce with the man advantage in the playoffs the same way they have during this regular season. They've shown that they can. Now they just need to execute when the games matter.

Source: NHL.com
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