We've just witnessed the best regular season by any Maple Leaf ever

Published April 27, 2022 at 10:08 PM
BY BEN HODGSON
During the 1992-93 season, Doug Gilmour was a man posessed. 32 goals, 95 assists, 127 points. Undoubtedly the best regular season by a Leafs player. Killer was unstoppable. He mostly played on a line with Dave Andreychuk and Nikolai Borchevsky, but coach Pat Burns was more than willing to double shift him if needed. That season is one of the main reasons Gilmour is remembered so fondly by Leafs fans. We won't mention what happened in the playoffs that year. It's too painful. As great as that season was, I'm leaning towards that what we've witnessed this season from Auston Matthews is better.

After a devastating first round exit, Matthews had wrist surgery as soon as the Leafs 2020-2021 season ended. He skipped the IIHF World Hockey Championships, missed most of training camp and the first week of the NHL season. By the end of October, Matthews had only played 6 games, had only 1 goal and 2 points. November was better, 9 goals, 17 points in 14 games. Matthews was, by all accounts, back.

December 11th was the start of something special, Matthews had a goal and an assist in the Leas 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. It was the start of a 50 game run that saw Matthews bury 51 goals and 33 assists for 84 points. Included in this ridiculous run was a hat trick against the 2 time defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning to hit the 50 goal mark on the season. No other player since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96 has scored 50 goals over a span of 50 games.

Another 2 goal performance from Matthews during Tuesday night's 3-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings made Matthews the first Maple Leaf to ever score 60 goals, and the first Maple Leaf to have a 60 goal, 100+ point season. I will forever be jealous that my dad was in the building for it and I wasn't.


As it stands now, with one game remaining which Matthews may or may not play, he has 60 goals and 106 points. This is without a doubt a better season than even Gilmour's incredible 92-93 campaign. Matthews 60 goals nearly doubles Gilmour's 32, and while Gilmour played 83 games, Matthews has played only 73. If Matthews had played all 82, his pace would put him at 67 goals, 119 points.

When we look at era adjusted stats, we essentially take the league average scoring for a given season and compare it to today, a 60 goal season was much easier in the 80s and early 90s when scoring was higher than it is today. Gilmour's 92-93 season would equate to 102 points in today's NHL. Still near the top of the league, but just below Matthews' points total for this season.

When we take goals vs assists, and adjust for the era these 2 fantastic hockey players played in, there's no argument. Auston Matthews has put up the best regular season by any Leaf ever. Now the question is, can he and the Leafs surpass the 92-93 Leafs in the playoffs? A trip to the conference finals would be a fantastic way to cap off the season. Ending a 54 year Stanley Cup drought would cement Matthews' status as the greatest Leaf of all time at only 24 years old.
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