Maple Leafs Forwards 5-on-5 Production in 2021-22: Surprises

In this post, we’ll look at the overall scoring for the Toronto Maple Leafs forwards for the 2021-22 season. Here’s a chart of the scoring of the Maple Leafs’ 12 forwards, from highest scorer to lowest scorer.  

#1Auston Matthews6046106
#2Mitch Marner356297
#3William Nylander344680
#4John Tavares274976
#5Michael Bunting234063
#6Alex Kerfoot133851
#7Pierre Engvall152035
#8Ilya Mikheyev211132
#9Ondrej Kase141327
#10David Kampf11 1526
#11Jason Spezza121325
#12Wayne Simmonds51116

The above scoring is for all situations, even strength, power play, and penalty kill. While, in the coach’s eyes at least, players on the power play have earned the right to be there, it still gives them more overall opportunity to score and to pad their scoring totals. 

Using Five-on-Five Statistics to Reveal Production Value

For the most part, hockey is played at 5-on-5. Information on a player’s production at 5-on-5 can be a valuable tool for the general manager and the coach to rate a player’s performance.  

Related: Maple Leafs’ Trade for Coyotes Jakob Chychrun Makes Sense

With that in mind, we decided to look at, and rank, each of the Maple Leafs’ forwards production at 5-on-5 for last season. 

RankPlayerGoals AssistsPoints
#1Auston Matthews382866
#2Mitch Marner223961
#3Michael Bunting213758
#4Alex Kerfoot113243
#5William Nylander182240
#6John Tavares152439
#7Pierre Engvall101626
#8Ilya Mikheyev11819
#9David Kampf81119
#10Ondrej Kase9918
#11Wayne Simmonds51015
#12Jason Spezza7613

Observations from Studying Maple Leafs’ Scoring Production

There are a few interesting observations when you compare the two lists.  

First, Matthews and Marner are still one and two in scoring. At 5-on-5, Matthews was the league’s top goal scorer by a mile, 38 goals to Kyle Connor’s 28. He was also second in 5-on-5 points, six behind Johnny Gaudreau.

Marner was fifth in the league in 5-on-5 scoring while Bunting was sixth. That means that the entire first line was in the top six in 5-on-5 scoring in the league. No other team in the league has three players in the top 20 let alone three players on the same line in the top six.  

Auston Matthews Mitch Marner Celebrate Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner Celebrate a Goal (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

At 5-on-5 production, Bunting and Kerfoot both jumped ahead of Nylander and Tavares. Surprisingly, Kerfoot was the highest point getter on the second line over Tavares and Nylander. When you also look at plus/minus and see that Kerfoot was a plus-19 while Tavares was a minus-8 and Nylander a minus-9, it makes us question the idea that Kerfoot was the weak link on that line.

Maybe that’s why Maple Leafs’ General Manager Kyle Dubas values Kerfoot more than some think. 

Related: Flyers Lookback: The Shea Weber Offer Sheet

Much has been made of Mikheyev’s 21 goals in 53 games, which was the main reason he was rewarded with a four-year $19 million deal as a UFA. At 5-on-5, Engvall outscored Mikheyev 26 points to 19. We must consider that Engvall played 25 more games than Mikheyev did; however, if we look at points per game at 5-on-5, Mikheyev averaged 0.35 while Engvall averaged 0.33. That’s not a huge separation. Plus, Engvall is two years younger than Mikheyev. 

Kampf had as many points as Kase had at 5-on-5. Part of the reason was that Kase missed 32 games, a big chunk of that was due to another series of concussions Kase suffered. For Kampf, who was brought in for his defensive play, scoring 19 points at 5-on-5 was a bonus. 

Pierre Engvall Toronto Maple Leafs
Pierre Engvall, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Another interesting note is that Simmonds had more points at 5-on-5 than Spezza did. 

Maple Leafs’ Scoring By Lines

One other observation we made was the 5-on-5 scoring appears to be line-related. The top three players (Matthews, Marner, and Bunting) were the team’s top line. For most of the season Tavares, Nylander, and Kerfoot formed the second line, while Mikheyev, Kampf, and Engvall were the third line. Spezza, Simmonds, and Kase formed the fourth line. 

Related: NHL’s Top 5 Centers of the Decade

If we compare the 5-on-5 scoring for each of the four lines it looks like this.


In a recent post, we looked at the production of key Maple Leafs’ forwards compared to their cap hits. If we compare the production of each of the four lines with their combined cap hit, we see the following. [Note: For the purpose of this, we are going to show the percentage of the team’s salary cap that each line takes up instead of the dollar value.]

Line% of Salary Cap% of Goals% of Points

What that chart tells us is the Maple Leafs got amazing value for the production of the first line. The first line scored 46 percent of the goals and 44 percent of the points while taking up 29 percent of the team’s salary-cap hit.  

The bottom two lines were also very productive. The third line had 17 percent of the goals and 15 percent of the points for only 5.4 percent of the cap hit. The fourth line got 12 percent of the goals and 11 percent of the points for only 3.6 percent of the salary-cap hit. 

David Kampf Toronto Maple Leafs
David Kampf, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)

But, once again we come back to the second line being a problem for the Maple Leafs. The second line accounted for 25 percent of the goals and 29 percent of the points while taking up 26 percent of the team’s salary-cap hit. It seems every time we look at statistics for the forwards, be it actual production, or underlying analytics the second line comes up as a team weakness. 

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Bruins, Canadiens & Senators

With less than a month to go until training camp, it will be interesting to see if Dubas does anything to address that issue.

[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.]

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