Toronto Maple Leafs: Point Predictions Pt. I

With the season now started, I have made my individual Toronto Maple Leafs point predictions for the season.

I have made the predictions based off the below assumed Toronto Maple Leafs lines.

JVR Bozak Marner

Michalek Kadri Komarov

Hyman Matthews Nylander

Martin Holland Brown

Reilly Marincin

Hunwick Gardiner

Zaitsev Carrick

For the sake of simplicity, I am assuming each person plays a full 82 games. While this is unrealistic for most players, it is the only fair way to compare each on the same level. At seasons end, I will go back and review my predictions.

I will judge it on how close I was to each player’s goals, assists, and points based on a per game average.  This is the best way to take out the factor of players playing less than 82 games in the season.

In this, Part I of my predictions, I include the “top” line of JVR, Bozak, and Marner. As well as the fourth line, Martin, Holland, and Brown.

JVR

Last Season: 40 GP, 14 G, 15 A, 29P

Projection: 27 G, 30 A, 57 P

After having played only half a season last year due to injury, expect JVR to be his consistent self. Being paired with Bozak again, whom he has always had chemistry, and rookie Mitch Marner it might be easy to say that his numbers should jump a little with such a skilled young winger on the other side.

But don’t forget that Kadri’s line will be played lots against the opposing teams top lines, and Matthews line will slowly morph into the top line. This results in less ice time than JVR had been used to as the top line left winger. Conclusion: expect more efficiency in scoring, but less minutes and about equal points to his previous few seasons.

Bozak

Last Season: 82 GP, 12 G, 23 A, 35P

Prediction: 14 G, 25A, 39P

For the first time in many years, Bozak will not be looked to either start as the Toronto Maple Leafs top line center or to take over as a top line center. He has always been a very good #3 and a half decent #2 on a non-playoff contending team.

This season he will be able to play against lighter competition and two highly skilled wingers in JVR and Marner.

There is a good argument that 14 goals is not much for Bozak considering his linemates and the likelihood of playing against lesser competition than in previous seasons. But Bozak is not a great goal scorer and Marner and, to a lesser extent, JVR are.

Conclusion: With less ice time and limited power play minutes, Bozak will have a similar season as last year playing against lesser competition and relying mostly on his wingers for his point production.

Mitch Marner

Last Season: N/A

Prediction: 16 G, 23 A, 39P

Going into training camp we had no idea whether or not he would make the Maple Leafs roster. During training camp, however, he undoubtedly proved that he is NHL ready.

His willingness to back check and not give up on the puck will bode well for him under Mike Babcock. Marner’s wrist shot is good, but it can be a lot better, and it will be. His skating is quick and his eyes for the game is almost elite.

What keeps me from saying Mitch will have a 20+ goal season is that eventually teams may start to play him physically and my worry is that when they do, he may be limited in some games in what he can produce.

Even if this does turn out to be true, Marner’s talent level is too high for that to be a problem over the long term. But in the short term, I do see some teams being able to make him quieter in SOME games than we would like to see him. Conclusion: May become one of the Maple Leafs all time scorers, but this season he may have a ceiling. Don’t expect that ceiling to last very long though.

Matt Martin

Last Season: 10G, 9A, 19P

Prediction: 7G, 8A, 15P

Signing a 4 year deal this summer, Matt Martin was brought in to throw his body around, protect the young guys, and be a veteran leader on and off the ice.

Martin will likely get a decent amount of playing time at the beginning of the season but as the rookies begin to acclimate to the NHL, expect Martin to see less even strength minutes. The penalty kill will become his bread and butter.

Conclusion: Expect more hits than goals, assists, and shots, combined…times 5.

Peter Holland

Last Season: 65 GP, 9 G, 18 A, 27 P

Prediction: 11 G, 14 A, 25 P

Probably the most shocking of all the players who made the roster this season. Going back to last season, and as recently as training camp, the writing was on the wall for Peter Holland. He was not going to be a Toronto Maple Leaf this season.

But as the preseason played out, Holland played himself into the lineup in a spot that was thought to have been penciled in for Brooks Laich.

The problem for Holland is that he is still likely trade bait, and will have to fight each and every game to stick with the team considering the likes of Soshnikov and Kapanen are down in the Marlies and presumably will be playing well.

If he continues to play well, he also must learn to be an effective penalty killer to stay on the team season long. Conclusion: Most of his points will come as a result of whomever is playing on his right wing. For now, it is Connor Brown.

Connor Brown

Last Season: 7 GP, 1 G, 5 A, 6 P

Prediction: 12 G, 13 A, 25 P

He is a Babcock type of player in that he is always moving his feet and will go deep into the corners to retrieve the puck and doesn’t give up possession without a fight.

In previous Maple Leaf seasons, Brown may have been playing on the second line but this year he finds himself relegated to the fourth line behind Marner, Nylander, and Komarov. Fortunately, Brown is a workhorse and will play any type of game that he is asked to.

For most of his career he has been a goal scorer, but this year at least is different.  Along with Holland, Brown too must fight for his roster position each game because he is one of the few that is waiver-exempt, which means he can be assigned to the Marlies without risking losing him to another team first.

The talent and effort is there, but he is being asked to play a game that is more defensive than he is used to.  Other than moving up the lineup due to injury, best case scenario is Holland and Brown work off of each other and put up a few games where they both gather a few points.

Conclusion: Expect him to be a role player and not the skilled winger that we have grown to love in the OHL and AHL.

The talent and effort is there, but he is being asked to play a game that is more defensive than he is used to.  Other than moving up the lineup due to injury, best case scenario is Holland and Brown work off of each other and put up a few games where they both gather a few points.

Conclusion: Expect him to be a role player and not the skilled winger that we have grown to love in the OHL and AHL.

This article originally appeared on

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