The 105th season of the Toronto Maple Leafs starts in 2021-22. With more than a century of history, the franchise has a very thick record book. Only a few players have left a long-lasting impact that is remembered years, even decades later. However, a handful of current players are moving up the historic statistics and stand a chance of leaving an extraordinary impression for years to come.
In just five seasons, two shortened by the pandemic and two reduced due to injury, Auston Matthews has his name all over the record books. Matthews is 14th in scoring for the franchise. He has 199 regular-season goals. He scored 41 goals in 52 games last season to become Toronto’s first-ever Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner. Many analysts estimate he will score at least 50 goals this season. That would move him to 10 with 249 ahead of Ted Kennedy, who played for the team in the 1940s. However, he still has work to catch Mats Sundin, who holds the record with 420 goals.
Incredibly, Matthews is already second in franchise history with over-time goals. He has seven, which is tied with Thomas Kaberle, but seven behind the franchise leader Sundin. Matthews is ninth for game-winning goals with 35, 14 in even-strength goals with 152 and 18 in powerplay goals with 47. He averages 0.596 goals per game played, second behind Charlie Conacher, who played in the 1930s and 1940s.
When you add in his 152 assists, Matthews has 351 points, putting him at 27th on the list. He’s racked up between 60 and 80 points per season. Should he add 80 points, he will be at 431, which is one point behind Syl Apps, a Leafs’ Legend how played in the 1930s and 1940s. He is fourth in franchise history for average points per game, with 1.051 just behind Darryl Sittler. Matthews is missing at least the first three games of the season to give his wrist more time to recover after surgery in the offseason.
Mitch Marner is also moving up the franchise record books. The team’s point leader last season is poised to catch some big names. Entering 2021-22, he is 15th in the Leafs’ all-time assists with 255. He has recorded between 40 and 70 assists per season. Likely, he records at least 66 assist this season, putting him in a tie with his all-time favourite player, Doug Gilmour.
He is second only to Gilmour for average assists per game with .718. Marner is 25th in team history for points with 358 and seventh in average points per game with 1.008.
The current longest-serving Maple Leaf is Morgan Rielly, who since 2013-14 has been working his way up the record book. Like many all-time great Toronto players, Rielly has left his mark through his longevity and consistent play with the team. Entering his ninth season, he is 26th in franchise history for games played with 572. If he plays all 82 games this season, he will move into the 16th spot ahead of Todd Gill. George Armstrong owns the record with 1,188 career games for the blue and white.
Rielly is Toronto’s franchise leader in blocked shots with 763. However, this statistic wasn’t recorded for more than 80 years of the Maple Leafs’ existence. He is right behind Marner for assists with 246, good for the 17th spot. He is 38th in team history for points with 305.
Of the four current players on this list, William Nylander records the least ice time by far. However, the Swede is moving his way in several categories. He is 50th for assists at 160 and 50th for points at 263. He has 29 powerplay goals, placing him at 40th on the list, 32nd for game-winning goals with 20, and 45th for assists per game, averaging .447. Expect Nylander to move up considerably this season, as the team has indicated he will get more ice time.
With so many statistics and analytics tracked nowadays, this list could go on for several pages. However, these are the players to watch as they continue to move up the better-known records in Maple Leafs’ history. Keep these stats in mind watching this season; it adds to the excitement and proves the current team is notable for many different reasons.
Kevin Armstrong is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades of experience. He’s been rink side for World Juniors, Memorial Cups, Calder Cups and Stanley Cups. Like many Canadian kids, his earliest memories include hockey. Kevin has spent countless hours in arenas throughout the country watching all levels of the game.