Toronto Maple Leafs on pace for best season in franchise history

Published April 10, 2022 at 3:29 PM
BY BRADLEY CELSIE
Currently, the Leafs sit second in the Atlantic division with 100 points in 72 games. With ten games remaining, they are on pace for 54 wins and 114 points. This projects them winning seven of their final ten games.


The team's current record for single season wins is 49, and points is 105, set back in the 2017-18 season with Mike Babcock as the Leafs' head coach.




With the way Auston Matthews is currently playing, and the team currently sitting at 47 wins, it is not hard to picture this years version of the Maple Leafs setting these records. In the ten remaining games the team plays five playoff bound teams, and five non-playoff bound teams. Six of the ten remaining games are scheduled to be played in Toronto.

It does seem improbable that a team with over 100 years of history is on the verge of breaking a franchise single season wins record, and yet only be tied for third overall in that same season. Some context here, in the pre-expansion era (anything before 1967), teams played less games in a season. After 1967, the league began adding games each season until they landed on the current 82 game format in 1995-96 (of course, we have had some labor stoppages and a global pandemic that influenced some seasons since 1996). Additionally, in 2006 the NHL introduced the shootout, and ended the possibility of tie games. As a result, it is likely most single season win records for any franchise will be set post 2006.

Now, if the Leafs can win eight of their last ten games, they will finish the season with 55 wins. Only twelve times in NHL history has a team finished a season with 55 or more wins. However, regular season success does not always translate into playoff success. The 2019 Tampa Bay Lightning learned this the hard way, finishing that year with 62 wins (tied for most single season wins by any franchise) only to be swept in the first round by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Of course, they have won two cups since then, so it is likely most of that pain from 2019 has faded for Lightning fans.

So while setting a single season franchise record would be a great achievement for this group, ultimately the only thing teams are remembered for is winning in the playoffs.

Source: Hockey-Reference
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