The calendar year 2022 has come to a close. The NHL season is such that it encompasses two calendar years. As a result, the Toronto Maple Leafs played 52 games of the 2021-22 season in 2022 amassing a record of 34-13-5 in that period. They then played 37 games of the 2022-23 season in 2022, finishing up with a record of 23-8-6.
Maple Leafs Were Second-Best NHL Team in 2022
If we combine the end of the 2021-22 season and the beginning of the 2022-23 season, altogether the Maple Leafs played a total of 89 games. They produced a record of 57-21-11 for a total of 125 points in those 89 games, a winning percentage of .702.
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The 125 points the Maple Leafs earned over the calendar year was the second most of any team in the league behind only the Boston Bruins, who earned 137 points. The Carolina Hurricanes also finished 2022 with 125 points.
Individual Goals Scored in 2022
Category One: Individual Goals Scored in 2022
It is no surprise that Auston Matthews led the Maple Leafs in goals in 2022 with 58. What might be a surprise is that Mitch Marner was second on the team with 43, one more than William Nylander.
Matthews’ 58 goals was the most in the league in the calendar year. John Tavares (29) and Michael Bunting (28) were a distant fourth and fifth.
Category Two: Individual Assists Totals in 2022
It is also no surprise that Marner led the Maple Leafs in assists in 2022. His 75 assists in the year ranked sixth in the NHL. Matthews’ 57 assists were four more than defenseman Morgan Rielly’s 53. Nylander and Tavares tied for fourth with 49.
Category Three: Individual Points Totals in 2022
Marner’s 118 points in 2022 are second in Maple Leafs’ franchise history, next to Doug Gilmour’s 121 points in 1993. They also ranked sixth in the NHL in 2022, three fewer than second-place Matthews Tkachuck’s 121.
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If there is any doubt about Connor McDavid being the best player in the NHL, his 143 points in 2022 are 22 more than any other player in the league.
Category Four: Individual Plus/Minus Totals in 2022
Signing Bunting to a two-year deal at under $1 million a season has to be one of Kyle Dubas’ best signings. He was top five on the team in goals and points in 2022.
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Some might argue that he is riding the coattails of players like Matthews, Marner, and Nylander, but that does not explain his first-place finish in plus/minus, plus-13 more than second-place Matthews – the other top five players in plus/minus were all defensemen.
Category Five: Individual Hits Totals in 2022
For a 6-foot-4 and 210-pound player, Justin Holl is generally not considered a physical player. Yet, he led the team in hits in 2022 with 154, 27 more than any other player on the team.
It might also be surprising that 5-foot-11, 185-pound Rasmus Sandin was second in hits with 127. Wayne Simmonds might easily have led the team in hits if he had played more than 50 games.
Category Six: Individual Blocked Shots Totals in 2022
Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie leading the team in blocked shots in 2022 is no surprise. What is interesting is that the only forward in the top five was Matthews.
Category Seven: Individual Penalty Minutes Totals in 2022
The Maple Leafs don’t have a fighter who plays a regular shift. As a result, having only one player with triple-digit penalty minutes makes sense. The fact that it is Bunting also makes sense; it’s all part of his role as an agitator on the team.
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If Simmonds had played regularly, he would also have easily led the team in penalty minutes, and when 2022 started, Giordano was playing with the Seattle Kraken. He didn’t come to the team until March 18. Hit totals would have been higher in every category. These numbers only represent his totals with the Maple Leafs.
Top Four Surprises In the Review
Surprise One: The Maple Leafs Team Success
We all know the Maple Leafs were a strong team; however, that they were tied for the second-best team in the NHL over that period was a bit surprising.
Surprise Two: Mitch Marner’s Goal Scoring
We do recall a time when, after he returned from an injury, Marner seemed to have made the decision to become more of a scoring option. However, that he was second in goals was a bit of a surprise.
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Surprise Three: Rasmus Sandin Is a Hitter
Following the team day-by-day, it was not much of a surprise that Holl was the team leader in hits. However, that Sandin (even with missed games) was second was a surprise. These are raw counts and not averages. Sandin is a physical hockey player.
Surprise Four: Auston Matthews Blocks Shots
That Matthews was the only non-blue liner on the list of top five shot blockers on the team was a bit of a surprise. No surprise that he dominates the offensive categories, but his defense is growing stronger. Blocking shots is but one example.
Surprise Five: Michael Bunting Is in the Middle of Everything
In category after category, Bunting’s name is listed. He made four of the seven categories. He does lots of things for the team, and it was nice to see his contributions did not go unnoticed.
[Note: I want to thank long-time Maple Leafs fan Stan Smith for collaborating with me on this post. Stan’s Facebook profile can be found here.]