As we start the back half of the NHL season, now is the perfect time to assess all of the Toronto Maple Leafs players first half performance.
Is there anything more we could have asked for from Frederik Andersen? Cause I can’t think of anything. He has an unreal .923 save percentage and is third in the NHL in wins. The only thing that has gone wrong for Andersen was a groin injury that kind of sent the Leafs on their recent skid, which just proves how valuable he has been to this team. He has easily been this teams MVP so far.
Mitch Marner: A+
The beautiful thing about Mitch Marner is this isn’t it. There is no way that Marner has hit his ceiling at only 21 years old, and yet he is leading a top team in the league in points. This year he has 62 points in 49 games, this is the fastest he’s reached the 60 point mark and the 20 goal mark. Mitch has been this teams best offensive player, which is why every team in the league is going to offer sheet him.
Morgan Rielly: A+
I don’t think anyone expected this out of Mo. We all knew he had potential to be a top 4 defenceman but we didn’t know he would end up being a number 1 defenceman in the Norris conversation. Truly one of the best performances by a Maple Leafs defenceman since the 70’s.
John Tavares: A
This may be the best season that John Tavares has ever had. Yes the John Tavares has had some incredible seasons, he once finishing second in NHL scoring. But the only reason I’m not giving him the + is because most of his goals Matt Martin could have scored.
What a start. Auston Matthews put up 10 goals in his first 11 games and other than the injury and the bad month of January he has been unbelievable. Once again the only reason there’s no plus is the month of January which has been bad for everyone including Matthews who only put up 2 goals in 10 games far from the month of October.
Kasperi Kapanen: B+
Kasperi Kapanen has been one of the leafs best wingers this season. He was a great replacement for William Nylander during his absence and is on pace for a 30 goal season, that is something no one could have predicted.
I love Travis Dermott. He has been the second best defenceman on this team for a year or two now and he’s far away from his ceiling. He is going to be a good defenceman for a long time for the blue and white.
Aside from a very rocky start that had Johnsson not being a roster regular he has been great. Johnsson has been moved all over the lineup and he has never looked bad. He has 10 goals and 10 assists and there is no sign of stopping so far.
Zach Hyman: B
This kid has been working his bags off since he made the NHL. He is one of the only players with true old school grit and it pays off. He has been stapled to a star player his entire Leafs career and he never fails to show up and work hard.
Nazem Kadri: B-
This has been such a strange year for Kadri . He’s either been scoring on a Wayne Gretzky like pace or he’s scoring on a Nikita Zaitsev type pace. The reason why he’s so low is because the bad stretches have been much longer than the good stretches.
Jake Gardiner: B-
Gardiner has been a controversial topic in leafs nation. You either love Gardiner and what he bring to the Leafs or you hate him and what he brings to the Leafs. I love Jake but some of the mistakes are too big to ignore so that’s why he’s a B-.
Connor Brown: B-
He hasn’t been the most noticeable player on the leafs this year but he has worked hard. He has just as many points as Zach Hyman (18) he’s just not looked as good, so Zach’s a B and he’s a B-.
Trevor Moore: B-
Moore has only played 7 games this year but he has looked amazing. Moore is fast, he works so hard and he immediately makes the 4th line much better. In fact in 33 games without Moore Frederick Gauthier has 0 goals, in 7 games with Moore he has 2 goals.
Garret Sparks: B-
Despite what people are saying Garret “Auto L” Sparks has been pretty good this year. A 6-2-1 record is very good and exactly what teams want in a backup goalie.
Patrick Marleau: C+
I know he’s the resident dad and everyone loves him but boy Marleau has looked invisible sometimes. Babcock has tried him with Matthews so many times this season and they’ve never looked that good. But with all of that said he is still contributing a fair amount (11 goals, 11 assists). Hopefully he turns into playoff Marleau by April.
William Nylander: C+
I am in Nylander’s corner 100% of the time but facts are hard to argue with. Nylander has looked better than some players ahead of him on this list, but he can be an A-A+ player so that’s why he is so low cause I know he can do better. To be fair we saw a glimpse of old Nylander against Washington when he notched 3 assists.
Tyler Ennis: C+
Ennis has either looked really good or you forget he even played that night. I have loved Ennis’ game when he is on. Just like Moore he makes the 4th line way better and he brings speed and skill to this team.
I thought Hutch played well in his time here. The only problem is that the team playing in front of him was awful so we didn’t win a lot of the games he played.
Par Lindholm: C
I’ve actually really liked Lindholm’s play so far, it’s just the production hasn’t been there and neither has he in some games this year. To be fair this is exactly what I expected out of him when the announced the signing.
Oz has had his moments but overall he has been bad most of the time he’s played this year. The only bright spot this year is that he is tied with Auston Matthews in goals since Christmas.
Gauthier has looked way better this season. The fact that he is still getting a C- should show you how bad Gauthier was in previous years. Glad to see he is finally becoming an “Elite 3rd liner”.
Martin Marincin: C-
Every time I’ve watched Marnincin this year I always think he’s doing really well… until he touches the puck. He has been an alright 7th defenceman but we could and should improve and move on from Marincin.
Ron Hainsey: D
Oh boy, Ron Hainsey has been really bad this year. He can’t make a lead pass for his life and he doesn’t know what he’s doing when he’s in his own end unless he’s on the penalty kill. Thank god his contract is up unlike the worst player on the Leafs so far.
Nikita Zaitsev: D-
Where should I start with Zaitsev? Is it the play in his own end that has cost us I don’t know how many goals this season? Or is it the inability to contribute anything offensively since he stepped on the ice in October? To make matters much worse he is signed on for the next 6 seasons at 4.5 M a year. Word is Dubas is looking to deal Zaitsev and that would be a huge relief on the cap and on my eyes every Leafs game.
stats from NHL.com, hockey-reference.com
featured image photo credit – Josh Tessler