The NHL season has started and if you are a true hockey fan, especially a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, you can admit there was a different feeling heading into this year.
A general manager change, a rising star who won’t sign his tender, and they signed some guy John Tavares. That doesn’t happen in three years for some teams yet it happened in one summer.
We are just over a week into the 82-game campaign, and Toronto has managed to win four of five games, all with the help of their biggest names.
Offensively it has been their big guns who have come out firing. Morgan Rielly, Mitch Marner, Tavares, and Auston Matthews have gotten off to quite the start. Actually, without the start, they have had the Leafs probably wouldn’t even have four wins out of five games.
Those four players have combined for 21 of the teams 25 goals so far. It literally looks like something out of a video game.
John Tavares has achieved a feat last accomplished 101 years ago.
Most points by a player through his first 5 games with @MapleLeafs:
15 – Harry Cameron (1917-18)
12 – Reg Noble (1917-18)
10 – @91Tavares (2018-19)
10 – Corb Denneny (1917-18)#NHLStats pic.twitter.com/dctRe7ubpA
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) October 12, 2018
Matthews has nine goals in five games and is tied for the league lead in points with Morgan Rielly who on Thursday night, broke the record for points by a defenseman in the first five games of the season which was previously held by Bobby Orr. John Tavares is being his same old self while Mitch Marner is making sure he gets paid when he receives his new contract this season.
So what is the issue with this team even though we are five games in?
To be honest there is no issue. Nobody should be saying anything about the team or the NHL season so far. We are just over a week in. Take a deep breath there will be hot streaks and many cold ones.
For the Leafs, the team’s offense has been booming; but in the long run, the defense is the main issue. But that issue has been the same recurring one for the past few years so it really isn’t all that surprising.
Along with the defense – which is more of a long-term problem – the only other issue just five games in is the lack of secondary scoring. However, if Toronto’s top guns weren’t performing like they are now, I could easily be writing the same thing about them. Once again it is the first week, nobody is winning the Stanley Cup for anything they do right now so whatever happens, take it with a grain of salt.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) October 12, 2018
The team is in very good hands with first-year general manager Kyle Dubas. The 32-year-old rookie NHL GM has been with the organization since 2014. He served as an assistant GM to Lou Lamoriello, but he was the general manager of the team’s farm system the Toronto Marlies, who he won the 2018 Calder Cup with.
Toronto has multiple young defensemen along with forwards in the minors who just aren’t ready to make the leap to the NHL, and nobody knows who is ready to make the full time jump better than Dubas who has worked with both teams for years. It is that reason as to why Leafs fans should be confident with the choice of GM.
Toronto is headed in the right direction. It took time and lots of patience to get to this point, but they have 77-games left this year and anything can happen.