Toronto Maple Leafs
1917/18: Led by Frank Calder the owners of the NHA decide to start their own league freezing out the Toronto Blue Shirts who won the Stanley Cup in 1914 owned by Eddie Livingstone, essential it was the same league, but without an owner the rest had resented. The new Toronto team owned by the Arena at the time had no official nickname, some called them Blue Shirts since most of their players had previously played for Toronto’s NHA franchise. While deposed owner Edward Livingstone did all he could to interfere with the team and the new league. However, “the Torontos” as some called them were one of the top teams in the new league’s first season finishing tied for first place with Montreal Canadiens with a 13-9 record, benefiting from default wins against the Montreal Wanderers who were forced to withdraw after fire destroyed their arena. After beating the Canadiens for the NHL title the Toronto team faced the PCHA Champion Vancouver Millionaires for the Stanley Cup. The entire five game series was played in Toronto with rules alternating between East six man and West seven man games. Neither team was comfortable with other style as Toronto took the series in five games benefiting from three games played with six men.
1918/19: To try and disassociate themselves from Edward Livingstone the “new” Toronto franchise changes its nickname officially to the Arenas. Everything released by the team from uniforms to the Stanley Cup, which they had won in the previous season. An Outraged Eddie Livingstone felt they team was still his and he brought lawsuits against the Arenas and the league. The resulting lawsuit would ruin the Arenas second season as they were forced to sell off their stars, to pay for legal bills falling into last place with a terrible 5-13 record. Eventually Livingstone lost all his lawsuits as it was found that he still had his NHA team but without competition the players had the right to leave, and with the lease he signed with Charles Querrie of the Arena Gardens of Toronto the Arena owned NHL franchise had the rights to the former Blue Shirts players. However, the Arenas owners were still ruined and need to sell the franchise to a group headed by Charles L. Querrie.
1919/20: Rescued from bankruptcy Toronto’s professional hockey team is renamed the St. Patricks in honor of Toronto’s growing Irish Population. The new nickname gave the Toronto team a fresh start as well as a new image as they changed their colors to green and white. The fresh started helped as the St. Pats recovered from a disastrous season, filled with lawsuits and near bankruptcy to post an improved 12-12 record barely missing the playoffs.
1920/21: The St. Pats get back to the playoffs finishing the NHL regular season with the best record at 15-9. However, in the NHL finals the St. Pats are crushed by the Ottawa Senators in a two game total goal series.
1921/22: After another solid 13-10-1 season the St. Patricks led by Coach George O’Donoghue get revenge by beating the Ottawa Senators in a total goal series to fight for the Stanley Cup. Facing the Vancouver Millionaires in a five game series Mutual Street Arena, the St. Pats roll over the Vancouver Millionaires taking the series in five games, overcoming two losses under Eastern Rules, as former Millionaire Jack Adams notched six goals in the series. An interesting side note: most record books and the Stanley Cup would later list the St. Pats coach as Eddie Powers, even though it was O’Donoghue.
1922/23: The St. Patricks never get a chance to defend their Stanley Cup Championship missing the playoffs with the same 13-10-1 record that had worked for them the year before.
1923/24: With new coach Eddie Powers behind the bench the St. Patricks suffer through a disappointing season missing the playoff for the second year in a row with a 10-14 record.
1924/25: The St. Patricks return to the playoffs finishing in second place with a 19-11 record. However, the St. Pats would be dispatched easily by the Montreal Canadiens in a total goal series. The series which was originally set to be a semifinal would be the NHL final after the Hamilton Tigers refused to play after not being given money for playing extra games.
1925/26: The St. Patricks never seem to get it going finishing 6th with a terrible 12-21-3 record, in the final year the NHL shared the Stanley Cup with other leagues.
1926/27: The St. Patricks continue to struggle with instability going through three coaches during a terrible 15-24-5 season which season them land in last place in the NHL’s Canadian Division. There was even discussion of moving the team to Philadelphia but a group of investors including Conn Smythe, bought the team and kept them in Toronto, feeling if the team moved the city’s economy would collapse. Smythe would also take over as coach and General Manager, while changing the team’s name to Maple Leafs in February. The idea for the new name came from a team Smythe had once scouted the East Toronto Maple Leafs. In addition Smythe who was a World War I veteran and a patriot also liked the name for its link to Canada.
1927/28: The restructuring under Conn Smythe continued as the Maple Leafs went back to their traditional blue and white color scheme, which they had abandoned in 1919, when they became the St. Pats. In addition Conn Smythe would take over the coaching reigns hoping to change the team’s fortunes on the ice. In Smythe’s first year behind the bench the team would show improvement. However, their 18-18-8 record was not good enough to secure a playoff spot.
1928/29: The restructuring of the Maple Leafs begins to pay off as they make the playoffs with a 21-18-5 record. The Leafs would easily dispatch the Detroit Cougars in the first round outscoring them 7-2 in a total goal series. However, in the semifinals their season would come to an end with two straight one goal losses to the New York Rangers in a best of three series.
1929/30: The Maple Leafs would take a step backwards as they missed the playoffs by finishing 4th in the Canadian Division with a disappointing 17-21-6 record.
1930/31: Conn Smythe steps down as Coach as he becomes owner of the Maple Leafs. With replacement Art Duncan the Leafs would go on to finish with a 22-13-9 record. In the playoffs the Leafs season would end in heartbreaking fashion losing a total goal series in overtime to the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round.
1931/32: In a year that sees the opening of a brand new state of the art arena known as the Maple Leaf Gardens, Dick Irvin takes over as Coach in the middle of the season leading the Maple Leafs to the playoffs for the second year in a row with a 23-18-7 record. In the playoffs the Leafs overcome a 1-0 loss in Game 1 by blowing out the Chicago Blackhawks 6-1 to win their total goal series in the first round. In the semifinals the Maple Leafs would win another total goal series in dramatic fashion beating the Montreal Maroon in overtime of Game 2 to earn trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. In the finals the Leafs swept the New York Rangers scoring six goals in each game as the Leafs Kid Line of Busher Jackson, Charlie Conacher, and Joe Primeau scored eight goals in three games.
1932/33: The Maple Leafs would ride high coming off their Stanley Cup Championship taking first place in the Canadian Division with a 24-18-6 record. Getting a first round bye the Maple Leads would battle the Boston Bruins trough a hard fought 5-game series that saw four games go to overtime. The Leafs would end up taking the series by winning the finale 1-0 in overtime. In the finals the Leafs simply ran out of gas losing to the Rangers three games to one, despite the advantage of playing all but one game at home.
1933/34: Maple Leafs star Ace Bailey would become the story of the year after a near fatal injury that would end his career after a fight on the ice with Boston Bruins star Eddie Shore. The injury would see Bailey end up in the hospital in critical condition with a fractured skull. As Bailey recovered the Leafs and the NHL decided to host a Valentine’s Day Benefit All-Star Game to help Ace with his medical bills. On that day among the players on hand was Eddie Shore, whom Ace Bailey reached out and shook his hand, and made clear his forgiveness of Shore. Despite the loss of Bailey the Leafs would win the Canadian Division for the second year in a row by posting a league best 26-13-9 record. However, in the semifinals the Leafs would be stunned in five games by the Detroit Red Wings, dropping both of their home games.
1934/35: The Maple Leafs continue to be one of hockey’s premier teams as they win the Canadian Division for the third year in a row with a terrific 30-14-4 record. In the semifinals the Leafs overcame a stunning Game 1 loss in overtime beating the Boston Bruins in four games. However, in the finals the Leafs would stun by the Montreal Maroons who swept them in three straight games, in the first all-Canadian Cup Final since 1926.
1935/36: Despite failing to win the division the Maple Leafs make the playoffs again with a solid 23-19-6 record. In the quarterfinal total goal series the Maple Leafs overcome a 3-0 loss in Game 1 by beating the Boston Bruins 8-3 in Game 2. In the semifinals the Leafs would knock off the New York Americans in two games to one in a best of three series. However, the Leafs run would end in the finals as they are beaten by the Detroit Red Wings three games to one.
1936/37: Despite struggling to a mediocre 22-21-5 record the Maple Leafs qualify for the playoffs for the seventh year in a row. However, in the first round they are bounced quickly being swept by the New York Rangers in two straight of a best of three series.
1937/38: The Maple Leafs return to the top of the Canadian Division claiming first place with a solid 24-15-9 record. The Leafs would get the finals quickly by sweeping the Boston Bruins in three straight games. However, a weeklong lay off would cool them off as are stunned by the Chicago Black Hawks who were in the finals despite a losing record three games to one.
1938/39: Despite a 19-20-9 record the Maple Leafs make the playoffs as the NHL now organizes the teams into one seven team league. In the quarterfinals the Maple Leafs begin their playoff run by dispatching the New York Americans in two straight games. Moving onto the semifinals the Maple Leafs won in dramatic fashion taking the decisive third game in overtime by beating the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 in overtime. However, their playoff run would come to screeching halt as they are beaten by the Boston Bruins four games to one as the finals shifts to a best of seven format.
1939/40: With a 25-17-6 record the Maple Leafs return to the playoffs as the 3rd seed. Once again, the Leafs would turn up a notch beating sweeping the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings in two straight best of three series to make it back to the Stanley Cup Finals. In the Finals the Leafs would find themselves in a quick hole losing the first two games to the Rangers in New York. With the rest of the series at the Maple Leaf Gardens, the Leaf appears to be sitting winning two straight games, to even the series at two games apiece. However, the Rangers would take two straight games in overtime to stun the Leafs in six games.
1940/41: With new coach Hap Day, the Leafs put together another solid season posting a 28-14-6 record to earn a first round playoff bye. In the semifinals the Leafs and Boston Bruins would battle to a seventh game, as the Leafs drop the last two games of the series by twin scores of 2-1.
1941/42: The Maple Leafs would earn a bye into the semifinals for the second year in a row by finishing in second place with a solid 27-18-6 record. In the semifinals the Leafs would overcome an early two games to one deficit by winning three straight games, to dispatch the New York Rangers in six games. In the finals the Leafs would immediately find themselves in trouble dropping the first two games at home allowing seven goals in two games to the Detroit Red Wings. Things would only get bleaker as they are slaughtered by the Wings 5-2 in Game 3. Down 3-0 the Leafs appeared to be ready for the compost, but the team would not go quietly winning Game 4 in Detroit by a score of 4-3 the Leafs returned to the MLG where they exploded for nine goals in a 9-3 win. Back in Detroit for Game 6 the Leafs would continue their suddenly rejuvenated play by shutting out the Wings 3-0 to force an improbable seventh game. Back at the Maple Leaf Gardens on April 18th for Game 7 a then record crowd of 16,000 witnessed the Leafs complete the greatest comeback in hockey history by claiming the Stanley Cup with a 3-1. In all seven game series of all sports this was the first time a team rallied from a 0-3 deficit, in the 60 years since it has only happened once more.
1942/43: Coming off their improbable Stanley Cup comeback the Maple Leafs finish in third place in the now six team NHL with a 22-19-9 record. In the semifinals the Maple Leafs found themselves in a rematch with the Detroit Red Wings but there would be no miracles as they lost in six games.
1943/44: With defenseman Babe Pratt winning the Hart Trophy the Maple Leafs make the playoff again finishing in third place with a 23-23-4 record. However in the semifinals the Leafs are demolished by the Montreal Canadiens in five games losing the final four games after winning the opener including a humiliating 11-0 loss in Game 5 that ended their season.
1944/45: The Maple Leafs make the playoff again finishing in third place with a 24-22-4 record. With Calder Trophy winning Goalie Frank McCool manning the pipes the Leafs get off to a good start in the semifinals beating the Canadiens in the first two games played in Montreal. After a 4-1 loss in Game 3 the Leafs took a 3-1 series lead by winning Game 4 in overtime. The Leafs would go on to win the series in six games to earn a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. In the Finals the Leafs jumped out to a 3-0 series lead over the Detroit Red Wings, as McCool posted shutouts in the first three games. However, three years after the Leafs overcame a 0-3 deficit against the Wings the Wings looked poised to return the favor taking three straight games to force a seventh game in Detroit. However, the Leafs would bounce back to win Game 7 by a score of 2-1.
1945/46: The defending Stanley Cup Champion Maple Leafs never get a chance to fight for the cup as their season ends without the playoffs thanks to finishing in fifth place with a disappointing 19-24-7 record.
1946/47: After missing the playoffs the Maple Leafs bounce back with a solid second place finish with a 31-19-10 record. With a young team led by Calder Trophy winner Howie Meeker the Leafs returned to the Stanley Cup Finals by beating the Detroit Red Wings in five games. In the finals the Leafs were matched up against the Montreal Canadiens in the first All-Canadian final in 12 years. After losing Game 1 by a score of 6-0 in Montreal the Leafs rebound to win the next three games. After dropping Game 5 in Montreal the Leafs won the Stanley Cup as Teeder Kennedy netted his third goal of the finals to give the Maple Leafs a 2-1 win.
1947/48: Learning from their mistake of the past the Maple Leafs finish the regular season in first place with a terrific 32-15-3 record. In the semifinals the Leafs knock off the Boston Bruins in five games, taking the first three games by scoring five goals in each game. In the finals the Leafs continued to stay red-hot sweeping the Detroit Red Wings in four straight games to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions. In the finals the high flying Leafs it the lamp 18 times in four games, including seven goals in the series finale.
1948/49: The Maple Leafs cost through the regular season and make the playoffs despite a poor 22-25-13 record. However, once the playoffs began the Leafs returned to Stanley Cup form blasting the Boston Bruins in five games for a return trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. In the finals the Leafs would dominate the Detroit Red Wings again sweeping them in four straight games, to become the first NHL team to win three straight Stanley Cup Championships.
1949/50: The Maple Leafs make the playoffs again finishing in third place with a 31-27-12 record. In the semifinals the Maple Leafs would battle the Detroit Red Wings tooth and nail for 7 games in a series that went back and forth from the start. However, the Leafs three year reign as Champions would come to an end with a heartbreaking 1-0 loss in overtime of the seventh game at Detroit.
1950/51: The Maple Leafs continue to be one of the NHL’s premier teams finishing in second place with a solid 41-16-13 record. In the playoffs the Maple Leafs would earn a trip to their fourth Stanley Cup final in five years by knocking of the Boston Bruins in four games to one in a series that featured a tie game thanks to a curfew in Toronto. In the Stanley Cup finals the Maple Leafs would knock off the Montreal Canadiens in five games in a series that saw every game go to overtime. In Game 5 the hero was Defenseman Bill Barilko who scored the series-winning goal in overtime. The goal would end up being Barilko’s last as he is tragically killed in a plane crash a few months later.
1951/52: The Maple Leafs would overcome the tragic loss of Bill Barilko to make the playoffs again by finishing in 3rd Place with a 29-25-16 record. However, in the playoffs the Leafs are dominated by the Detroit Red Wings being outscored 13-3 in a four game sweep.
1952/53: The Maple Leafs would struggle all season as they battled for a playoff berth all season. However, in the end they would come up two points short with a 27-30-13 record.
1953/54: After a 1-year break the Maple Leafs would get back to the playoffs by finishing in third Place with a solid 32-24-14 record. However, the Leafs would not last long in the playoffs losing in five games to the Detroit Red Wings.
1954/55: The Maple Leafs would make the playoffs again, as Teeder Kennedy collects the Hart Trophy despite a mediocre 24-24-22 record for the Leafs. IN the playoffs the Leafs would be rolled over by the Detroit Wings being swept by the eventual Stanley Cup Champions.
1955/56: Despite a disappointing 24-33-13 record the Maple Leafs make the playoffs by holding off the Boston Bruins by two points. In the playoffs the Leafs season would be ended for the third year in a row by the Detroit Red Wings who knock the Leafs off in five games.
1956/57: The Maple Leafs struggle all season and miss the playoffs by finishing in fifth place with a terrible 21-34-15 record.
1957/58: The Maple Leafs hit rock bottom finishing in last place with an awful 21-38-11 record.
1958/59: Despite another losing season with a record of 27-32-11, the Maple Leafs sneak into the playoffs by finishing one point better than the New York Rangers. In the playoffs the Leafs would stun the Boston Bruins in seven games to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. However, their surprise run in the playoffs would come up short as they were dominated by the Montreal Canadiens in five games.
1959/60: In hopes to give their team new punch, the Maple Leafs hire a new coach named Punch Imlach. The move worked as the Leafs finished in second place with a solid 35-26-9 record. In the playoffs the Leafs would get back to the finals for the second straight year by beating the Detroit Red Wings in six games. However the Maple Leafs are dominated by the Montreal Canadiens, who win their record fifth straight Stanley Cup by sweeping the Maple Leafs in four straight games, outscoring them 15-5.
1960/61: The Maple Leafs lose a furious battle for first place settling for second place with a solid 39-19-12 record. However, in the playoffs the Leafs would be stunned by the Detroit Red Wings losing four straight games, after winning the series opener in overtime.
1961/62: The Maple Leafs put together another solid season finishing in second place with a solid 39-19-12 record. In the semifinals the Maple Leafs would find themselves in a struggle against a sub .500 New York Rangers team as the series was tied after four games. In Game 5 the Leafs would survive an overtime battle to take a 3-2 series lead. The Leafs would go on to put away the pesky Rangers with a 7-1 win in Gam6. Moving on to the finals the Leafs would take control of the series in Game 5, with an 8-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Three nights later the Maple Leafs would win the Stanley Cup with a 2-1 win in Chicago. The Cup victory would end up being the final one for longtime Leafs president Conn Smythe, who sold the franchise to Harold Ballard following the season.
1962/63: The Maple Leafs end the season in first place in a jumbled NHL that saw the top four teams finish with in eight points, with a 35-23-12 record. In the playoffs the Maple Leafs would survive a hard fought seven game battle with Montreal Canadiens to make a return trip to the finals. In the finals the Maple Leafs would knock off the Detroit Red Wings in five games, holding the high scoring Wings to 10 goals in five games. In the clinching fifth game the Leafs Dave Keon would tally two shorthanded goals in the 3-1 Cup clinching win.
1963/64: In their quest for a third straight Stanley Cup Championship the Maple Leafs would finish in third place with a 33-25-12 record. In the playoffs the Leafs would turn it up a notch knocking off the Montreal Canadiens in five games. In the finals the Leafs would face the Detroit Red Wings in a classic seven game battle. In the first three games the winning goal was scored in the last minute of play as the Wings held a 2-1 series lead. After splitting the next two games, the Leafs faced elimination in Detroit for Game 6. The Leafs would force a 7th game when Bobby Baun playing with an ankle sprained from a Gordie Howe slapshot scored the winning goal in overtime. Braun would manage to play all of Game 7, without missing a shift as the Leafs won the Stanley Cup for the third year in a row with a 4-0 win.
1964/65: The Maple Leafs finish in fourth place in their quest for a fourth straight Stanley Cup Championship, with a 30-26-14 record. In the playoffs the Leafs championship reign would end with an overtime loss in Game 6 of the semifinals to the Montreal Canadiens.
1965/66: The Maple Leafs continue to be a playoff regular by finishing in third place with a solid 34-25-11 record. However, in the playoffs the Leafs are swept away in four straight games by the Montreal Canadiens.
1966/67: With an aging team whose average age was over 31 the Maple Leafs make the playoffs again by finishing in third place with a 32-27-11 record, in the final year the NHL played with just six teams. In the playoffs the Leafs would get back to the Stanley Cup Finals by beating the Chicago Black Hawks in six games. In the finals Dave Keon was the star on defense and offense as the Leafs won their 13th Stanley Cup by beating the Montreal Canadiens in six games. Keon would earn honors as the Playoff MVP, which carried the name of the Maple Leafs great patriarch Conn Smythe. Little did anyone know at the time the Maple Leafs would not make another Cup final during the century.
1967/68: Playing in the Eastern Division with the other original six teams the Maple Leafs would miss the playoffs despite finishing with a 33-31-10 record that was better than any of the six expansion teams that were in the Western Division.
1968/69: The Maple Leafs return to the playoffs by finishing in fourth place with a 35-26-15 record. However, the Leafs are blown away in the playoffs losing four straight games, to the Boston Bruins by a combined score of 24-5.
1969/70: With new Coach John McLain, the Maple Leafs play without punch and land in last place by finishing with a disappointing 29-34-12 record. The season would be a strange one for the NHL as no Canadian teams participated in the playoffs.
1970/71: The Maple Leafs return to the playoffs by finishing in fourth place with a 37-33-8 record. However, their playoffs would end quickly as they blew a 2-1 series lead losing in six games to the New York Rangers.
1971/72: The Maple Leafs emerge from battle for the final playoff spot holding the Detroit Red Wings off by four points with a 33-31-14 record. In the playoffs the Leafs are dusted away quickly losing to the Boston Bruins in five games.
1972/73: The Maple Leafs never quite get it going missing the playoffs by finishing in sixth place with a disappointing 27-41-10 record.
1973/74: The Maple Leafs would make it back into the playoffs by finishing in fourth place with a decent 35-27-16 record. However, their playoff run is end quickly as they are swept away by the Boston Bruins in four straight games.
1974/75: The Maple Leafs benefit from realignment and an expanded playoff format making the playoffs despite finishing in third place in the Adams Division with a 31-33-6 record. The Maple Leafs would advance to the second round by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins two games to one. In the second round the Leafs would prove a pesky challenger for the defending Stanley Cup Champion Philadelphia Flyers. However, in the end the Flyers would emerge victorious knocking off the Leafs with a 7-3 win in Game 7.
1975/76: New Captain Darryl Sittler is the star of the show on February 7th as he sets a record for 10 points in a game against the Boston Bruins, netting six goals with four assists. Sittler would end the season with 100 points scoring 41 goals as the Leafs made the playoffs at 34-31-15. In the preliminary round the Maple Leafs slipped past the Pittsburgh Penguins in three games, they then gave the defending champion Philadelphia Flyers all they could handle before losing in seven games.
1976/77: The Maple Leafs make the playoffs again by finishing in third place with a 33-32-15 record. Once again, the Maple Leafs would dispatch the Pittsburgh Penguins in three games in the preliminary round. In the 2nd round the Maple Leafs get off to a terrific start stunning the Flyers in the first two games at Philadelphia. However, the Flyers would lose two heartbreaking games in overtime as the series shifted to Toronto, as the Flyers came back to win the series in six games.
1977/78: Maple Leafs eccentric owner who a few years earlier served time for tax evasion begins a bizarre series of actions defying NHL rules that players names be placed on the jersey by put the names on jersey in the same color as the jersey making the names invisible. Ballard would be fined $10,000 a game, before he relented and put the names on the back. In another incident Ballard caused uproar among Feminist when he said, “Women are only good on their back.” While still finishing in third place in the Adams Division the Maple Leafs put together a strong regular season by finishing with a 41-29-10 record. In the Preliminary Playoff round the Leafs would crown the Los Angeles Kings beating 11-4 in a two game sweep. Moving on to the second Round the Leafs found themselves in a seven game war with the New York Islanders. After losing the first two games in New York, the Leafs evened the series by winning the next two games in Toronto. After swapping home ice wins the next two games the Leafs would win a dramatic Game 7 in overtime on the road 2-1 to advance to the semifinals. However, the Montreal Canadiens who were on their way to a third straight Stanley Cup Championship were too strong as the swept the Leafs away in four straight games.
1978/79: The Maple Leafs return to the playoffs by finishing with a 34-33-12 record, finishing in third place inside the Adams Division. Near the end of the season Leafs owner Harold Ballard suddenly decided to fire Coach Roger Nielson. However Neilson would be hired back before the next game as the Leafs could not find a replacement. Ballard in rehiring his coach even asked him to wear a paper bag on his head, which he refused. In the playoffs the Leafs would extinguish the Atlanta Flames outscoring them 9-5 in a two game sweep. However, in the second round the Leafs would be swept for the second straight year by the Stanley Cup bound Montreal Canadiens. Following the season Ballard would fire Neilson again this time permanently.
1979/80: The Leafs would have a coaching carousel, going through two coaches before legendary Punch Imlach is coaxed out of retirement. With 16 out of 21 teams making the playoffs the Maple Leafs would make the playoffs with a third place finish and a mediocre 35-40-5 record. In the best of five first round the Maple Leafs would be swept by the Minnesota North Stars allowing 17 goals in three games.
1980/81: Owner Harold Ballard’s bizarre actions continue as he compares star Center Darryl Stiller to a traitor who urinated on the Canadian flag when he rips the Captain’s C off his jersey. A few weeks later Ballard would fire Coach Punch Imlach, as the Leafs struggles continued. Despite finishing in last place with a 28-37-15 record the Maple Leafs remain one of 16 playoff teams. However, in the Preliminary Round the Leafs are cruised by the New York Islanders losing three straight games, by a combined score of 20-4.
1981/82: With realignment the Maple Leafs are moved to the Norris Division, which contains a more geographical grouping of teams in the North Midwest. The troubles between Leafs owner and star Darryl Sittler finally come to an end when Sittler is traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in the middle of the season. However, no matter what division the Leafs played in they were not going any wear by finishing with an awful 20-44-16 record.
1982/83: Despite a terrible 28-40-12 record the Maple Leafs make the playoffs by finishing in third place in the Norris Division. However, the weak Leafs are quickly exposed as they are knocked off in four games of a best of five series by the Minnesota North Stars.
1983/84: The Maple Leafs, who owner Harold Ballard refuses to sign European players, continue to struggle finishing in last place in the Norris Division with a terrible 26-45-8 record.
1984/85: The once proud Maple Leafs franchise hit rock bottom finishing with the worst record in the NHL by finishing with a franchise worst 20-52-8 record. Their 48 points were 14 worse than the worst playoff team, and four worse than the team with second poorest record in the league.
1985/86: Despite another terrible 25-48-7 record the Maple Leafs finish in fourth place and thus earn a trip to the playoffs. In the first round Norris Division match up the Leafs would suddenly return to their old glory year by sweeping the first place Chicago Black Hawks in three straight games scoring 18 goals in the series. In the Norris finals the Leafs again would look like a strong team before falling to the St. Louis Blues in seven games.
1986/87: The Maple Leafs narrowly make the playoffs with a 32-42-6 record finishing in fourth place via tiebreaker. In the playoffs the Leafs would play their best again knocking off the St. Louis Blues in six games. However, for the second straight year the Leafs lose a heartbreaking seven game series in the Norris Division Finals this time falling to the Detroit Red Wings.
1987/88: Despite a terrible 21-49-10 record the Maple Leafs make the playoffs by simply finishing one point ahead of the Minnesota North Stars who had the worst record in the NHL. With 16 teams making the playoffs the Leafs were worse the four of the teams that missed the playoffs. In the playoffs the Leafs would give the Detroit Red Wings a fight but ultimately the Leafs would fall in six games.
1988/89: Maple Leafs ornery owner Harold Ballard continues to make news as his affairs and tribulations are a regular on the syndicated American Tabloid show “A Current Affair.” The Leafs continue to be among the worst teams in the NHL, and this year they would pay for it as the missed the playoffs by finishing in last place with a 28-46-6 record.
1989/90: After a decade of losing record the Maple Leafs make the playoffs by finishing in 3rd Place with a 38-38-4 record. As the season ended an era in Toronto would end as controversial owner Harold Ballard passed away at the age of 86. In the playoffs the Leafs would be knocked off right away losing to the St. Louis Blues in five games.
1990/91: The Maple Leafs would take a major step backwards falling back into the Norris Division cellar with a terrible 23-46-11 record.
1991/92: The Maple Leafs would miss the playoff for the second year in a row falling three points short of the postseason with a 30-43-7 record.
1992/93: For the first time in 14 years the Maple Leafs would post a winning record in the regular season finishing in third in the Norris Division with a solid 44-29-11 record. In the first round the Maple Leafs would survive a seven game war against the Detroit Red Wings winning the series with an overtime goal in Game 7. In the Norris Division Finals the Leafs were taken the distance again beating the upstart St. Louis Blues in seven games to advance to their first semifinal in 15 years. In the Campbell Conference Finals the were poised to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals leading the Kings late in the 3rd period of Game 6 in Los Angeles. However, thanks to Wayne Gretzky the Kings would rally to win in overtime. In Game 7 in Toronto Gretzky again would be the heroes scoring a hat trick in the Kings 5-4 win that end the Leafs dreams of a Stanley Cup.
1993/94: The Maple Leafs would break out of the gate going undefeated through most of October as Toronto fans were paying attention to the Blue Jays in the World Series. Once the series was over the Leafs would once again hold the spotlight, but they would come down to earth a bit. Eventually the Leafs would even lose their grip on first Place in the Central Division, as they finished in second Place with a 43-29-12 record. In the first round the Leafs would knock off the Chicago Blackhawks in six games as goalie Felix Potvin backstopped 3, 1-0 wins. In the 2nd round the Maple Leafs were taken to the limit by the upstart San Jose Sharks needing an overtime win in Game 6 to force a seventh game in which they won 4-2. In the Western Conference Finals the Leafs were heavily favored for a return to the Stanley Cup Finals. However, after taking Game 1 over the Vancouver Canucks the Leafs dreams were ended by four straight losses that included two shutouts.
1994/95: In season shortened to 48 games because of a lockout the Maple Leafs make the playoffs for the third straight year finishing with a 21-19-8 record. In the playoffs the Maple Leafs would get off to a good start beating the Blackhawks in the first two games played in Chicago. However the Leafs would lose then next two games in Toronto, and would go on to fall in seven games.
1995/96: Despite struggling to finish with a 34-36-12 record the Maple Leafs qualify for the playoffs for the fourth season in a row. However, in the playoffs the Leafs are knocked off in six games by the St. Louis Blues.
1996/97: In a forgettable season the Maple Leafs struggle all year and finish in last place with a disappointing 30-44-8 record, as once popular Coach Pat Burns is fired during a season in which the Leafs go through three coaches.
1997/98: For the second season in a row the Maple Leafs would struggle all season finishing in last place with a 30-43-9 record. Following the season as part of a major front office shake up the Leafs General Manager Pat Quinn would name himself head coach as former Montreal Canadiens Goalie Ken Dryden takes over as team president.
1998/99: With expansion the Maple Leafs are shifted to the Eastern Conference and into the Northeast Division with the rival Montreal Canadiens as part of a major realignment. However, the biggest move for the Leafs was the signing of Free Agent Goalie Curtis Joseph. In his first season with Leafs CuJo provide strong net minding as the Leafs made the playoffs with a solid 45-30-7 record. The year also sees the end of an era as the historic Maple Leaf Gardens closes in February as the Leafs open a brand new stadium complete with luxury suites downtown known as the Air Canada Centre. In the playoffs CuJo would be an immovable force as the Leafs knocked off the Philadelphia Flyers in six games. The Leafs would continue to stay hot as they beat Jaromir Jagar and the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. However, in the Eastern Conference Finals the Leafs would run into a hot goalie themselves as Dominick Hasek and the Buffalo Sabres knocked beat the Leafs in five games.
1999/00: The Maple Leafs begin a new century in style as they crack the 100-point barrier for the first time in franchise history, while winning their first Division Title in 37 years with a 45-30-7 record. In the first round the Maple Leafs would win a battle of Ontario by beating the Ottawa Senators in six games. However, the Leafs would find themselves frustrated as they could not get past the New Jersey Devils neutral zone trap falling in six games.
2000/01: The Maple Leafs make the playoffs again finishing in third place in a competitive Northeast Division with a 37-29-11-5 record. In the playoffs the Leafs would hit an extra gear, as goalie Curtis Joseph would shut down the first Place Ottawa Senators in a four game sweep. The Leafs continued to stay hoot as they battled the New Jersey Devils in the second Round. However, the Leafs despite badly outplaying the Devils only held a 3-2 series lead, which allowed the Devils to breakout of their slump and beat the Leafs in seven games. Making matters worse Leafs star enforcer Tie Domi is suspended for a cheap shot on Scott Niedermeyer, a suspension that would carry over to the next season.
2001/02: The Maple Leafs hit the century mark again while finishing in second place with a solid 43-25-10-4 record. However, the Maple Leafs would barely survive a first round seven game war against the New York Islanders in which several star players on each team including Leafs captain Mats Sundin were lost to injury. With a banged up team the Maple Leafs would have to gut things out again beating the Ottawa Senators in seven games by rallying to win the final two games of the series after being dominated most of the series. However, even with return of Mats Sundin the Leafs would run out of gas falling to the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conferences finals in six games. Following the season the Leafs would fail in attempts to re-sign star Goalie Curtis Joseph who bolted for the Detroit Red wings.
2002/03: The Maple Leafs would stumble out of the gate winning just two of their first nine games, as the team adjusted to new goalie Eddie Belfour. However the Leafs began to find their way in mid-October and quickly rode up the standings in the Northeast Division. However, their struggles against the Ottawa Senators would prevent them from getting over the top as the Maple Leafs won just one of five fight filled games with their rivals. Hoping to improve the team at the deadline the Maple Leafs made several big trades acquiring Owen Nolan from the San Jose Sharks, and reacquiring Leafs legend Doug Gilmour from the Montreal Canadiens. However the dreams of a great comeback from Gilmour were squashed early as he suffered a season ending knee injury, which ended his season and hi career as Gilmour announced his retirement after the season. The Leafs would go on to have another solid season finishing in second place with a record of 44-28-7-3. In the playoffs the Leafs were matched up against the Philadelphia Flyers. After splitting the first two games in Philadelphia the Leafs took a series lead with a dramatic 4-3 win in double overtime on a goal by Tomas Kaberle. However, the Flyers would bounce back to take Game 4 in triple overtime. After losing Game 5 in Philly the Leafs staved off elimination with a 2-1 win in double overtime on a goal by Travis Green. However, with Game 7 in Philadelphia the Leafs simply ran out of gas losing 6-1.
2003/04: The Maple Leafs continued to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference as they were in a 3-way dog fight with the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators for first place in the Northeast Division led once again by Mats Sundin who had a 75-point season. Hoping to put themselves over the top the Leafs acquired future Hall of Famers Brian Leetch from the New York Rangers and Ron Francis from the Carolina Hurricanes, both of whom were proven playoff tested winners. In just 15 games with the Leafs Leetch would notch 15 points as Francis had 10 in 12 games. However the Maple Leafs would fall one point short of a Division Title with a franchise record 103 points and a 45-24-10-3 record. In the playoffs the Leafs would draw the Ottawa Senators. After dropping Game 1 by a score of 4-2 the Leafs rebounded to win each of the next two games 2-0 as Eddie Belfour stopped a total of 68 shots. After a 4-1 loss in Game 4, the Leafs turned to Belfour again who stopped 21 shots in another 2-0 shutout win. Belfour looked to be heading for another shutout in Game 6, but the Senators rallied to win 2-1 in overtime to a force a 7th game. In Game 7 at the Air Canada Centre the Leafs would jump out to a 3-0 lead and never look back as they advanced to the second round with a 4-1 win. In the second Round the Leafs would get off to a slow start as they dropped the first two games to the Philadelphia Flyers on the road. With the series shifting to Toronto the Leafs would come roaring back winning the next two to even the series. However in Game 5 their Philadelphia Horror continued as they were blow out 7-2. Needing a win at home to even the series the Leafs rallied with a pair of goals to force overtime in the 3rd Period. However, Jeremy Roenick would end the Leafs season with a goal at 7:39 of overtime to give the Flyers a 3-2 win.
2004/05: Season Cancelled Due to Lock Out
2005/06: Coming out of the lost season, the Maple Leafs, who were one of the oldest teams before the Lock Out, were even older and not any better, as the new Salary Cap tied their hands from being able to really make any key improvements. One player that was added was Eric Lindros who, once was touted to be the next big superstar, but with several injuries had become average at best. The Leafs started the season on the wrong foot as they were beaten by the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in the first shoot out in NHL history. After a mediocre October the Leafs played well through most of November and December, as they entered the New Year with a record of 22-14-3. However, in January the Maple Leafs would unravel enduring an eight game losing streak as Goalie Ed Belfour struggled badly. Heading into the Olympic Break the Leafs continued their poor play as they slipped down the Eastern Conference Standings and found themselves in danger of missing the playoffs. During the Olympics in Turin, Maple Leafs Coach Pat Quinn already taking heat for the Leafs struggles led an unimpressive Canadian team that would not even play for a medal. When the season resumed the Leafs continued to fall as Lindros spent much of the second half on the injured list, as the Ed Belfour who became the second winningest goalie of all-time during the season was eventually benched with a 3.29 GAA and a .892 save percentage. Back up Mikael Tellqvist would not fare much better than Belfour as the Leafs held a 32-32-6 record on March 25th needing to almost run the table in April to have a shot at the playoffs. After Belfour and Tellqvist each struggled the Leafs called up Jean-Sebastien Aubin hoping that he could give them the goaltending they needed to finish the season strong. Aubin did better than anyone could have imagined posting a 9-2 record with both losses coming after regulation as the Leafs posted a strong 9-1-2 record over their last 12 games to finish with a record of 41-33-8, but it was not enough as they missed the playoff by just two points. It would also not be enough to save Pat Quinn’s job as he was fired as both Coach Pat Quinn was fired and replaced by Paul Maurice. During the off-season the Leafs also went after goaltending help acquiring Andrew Raycroft form the Boston Bruins.
2006/07: Coming off their disappointing season the Maple Leafs retooled adding players like Pavel Kubina, Michael Peca, and Hal Gill to go along with new Goalie Andrew Rayfcroft. However, for most of the first three months the Maple Leafs played mediocre hockey, as they headed into the New Year with a 17-17-6 record. In January the Leafs started playing better despite losing Peca for the season with a knee injury. The Leafs would stay in playoff contention until the very end of the season as they held destiny in their own hands in the final week playing the New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens in the final two games. However, a 5-2 loss to the Islanders put the Leafs on the brink as they needed a win over the Habs and an Islanders loss to get in. Led by three assists from Mats Sundin the Leafs would do their part beating the Canadiens 6-5 to knock their longtime rivals out of contention. However, the Islanders would win their final game of the season, and edge the Leafs who finished 40-31-11 out of the playoffs by one point.
2007/08: The Maple Leafs struggles continued, as they got off to a poor start losing both ends to a season opening home-and-home to the Ottawa Senators, on the way to posting a mediocre 5-5-3 record in October. Things would get even worse in November as the Leafs dug a deep hole in the Northeast Division, by winning just 4-of-13 games. The Leafs would have a small hot streak in December as they won five of six, but they would win one of their next six games, as they entered the New Year, with fans calling for the firing of General Manager John Ferguson Jr. As the losing continued in January, fans would get their wish on January 22nd, when Ferguson was replaced by Cliff Fletcher on an interim basis. The Maple Leafs would never be a factor in the playoff chase as they finished in last place with a record of 36-35-11. As the season wound down it became apparent that Captain Mats Sundin, days as a Maple Leaf were numbered, as the team began to focus on rebuilding, and chose not to re-sign him at the end of the season. Also leaving the Leafs would be Coach Paul Maurice, who would be replaced by Ron Wilson.
2008/09: The Ron Wilson era in Toronto has a good start, as the Maple Leafs spoil the Detroit Red Wings banner raising ceremony with a 3-2 win. However, the Leafs failed to win their next five games, as they posted a mediocre 4-3-3 record in October. The Leafs continued to play mediocre hockey in November, as they again were limited to four wins, as Brian Burke became the Leafs first American born General Manager. Entering the New Year with a 15-16-6 record, the Leafs struggled in January losing nine of 11 games to start 2009. One thing that became frustrating for the Leafs was the number of losses in overtime on the shootout. In February during another dry spell the Leafs lost their 12th overtime game of the season. Playing in overtime became a habit for the Leafs as they also had a seven stretch where every game ended tied in regulation. The Leafs would win four of these games, but continued to go nowhere in the hopes of reaching the playoffs, as they finished last in the Northeast Division with a record of 34-35-13.
2009/10: The song Changes by David Bowie could have been the soundtrack for the Maple Leafs as they continued to restructure their roster. The first deal came just before the season as the Maple Leafs landed Phil Kessel in a trade with the Boston Bruins for the first and second pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, and the 2011 first round pick. The Leafs would secure Kessel’s future in Toronto with a five year $27 million contract. The Kessel deal would not help on the ice as the Maple Leafs go off to a terrible start going winless in their first eight games. After earning their first win against the Anaheim Ducks on the road 6-3, the Leafs continued their early season struggles losing four straight in overtime, as they posted a horrible 3-11-6 record in their first 20 games. As December began the Leafs began to play better, winning six of eight games. However, in January the Leafs continued to scuffle, as they held a 17-28-11 record when they made a pair of blockbuster deals on January 31st, landing All-Star Defenseman Dion Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom and Keith Aulie from the Calgary Flames for Matt Stajan, Jamal Mayers, Niklas Hagman, and Ian White while also acquiring Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere from the Anaheim Ducks for Goalie Vesa Toskala and Jason Blake. In his first game in Toronto Giguere would stop all 30 shots as the Leafs beat the New Jersey Devils 3-0. However, wins continued to be scarce as the Leafs held a 19-31-11 record at the Olympic Break. After the break the Leafs did show some good signs for the off-season as they posted an 11-7-3 record in the final six weeks, though it would not be enough to save the Maple Leafs from posting the worst record in the Eastern Conference at 30-38-14.
2010/11: With Deion Phaneuf installed as team captain, the Maple Leafs looked to finally take a step forward and return to the playoffs. The Maple Leafs would start the season with a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens at the Air Canada Centre. It marked the first time in 11 years they had won their home opener. The Leafs would win their first four games on the way to a 4-0-1 start. However, it would not last as they dropped four of their next five games. In November, things would get worse, as the Maple Leafs began digging another deep hole, winning just three games. It would not get much better in December, as the Leafs entered the New Year with a record of 13-19-4. The Leafs would get off to a good start in January, winning five of six games, including a strong road trip with wins over the Los Angeles King and San Jose Sharks. However, they would end the month with just one win in their last seven games. In the run up to the trade deadline, the Leafs made several trades, stock piling draft picks, while acquiring Joffrey Lupul and Jake Gardiner from the Anaheim Ducks for Francois Beauchemin. With Rookie James Reimer getting a chance in goal, the Maple Leafs had a strong February with eight wins, as they tried to get back into playoff contention. Reimer would continue to play strong hockey in March as the Leafs kept their playoff hopes alive with a record of 9-5-1. However, it would not be enough as the Maple Leafs missed the playoffs again, finishing with a record of 37-34-11, missing the playoffs by eight points.
2011/12: After six seasons without making the playoffs, the Maple Leafs continued to look for the big deal in the off-season, as they signed Free Agent Tim Connolly, while also picking up John-Michael Liles from the Colorado Avalanche in a trade that sent a second round pick to Colorado in return in hopes to improve their team defense. Led by Phil Kessel who led the league in scoring during October, with 18 points and a league high ten goals the Maple Leafs were able to get off to a strong start, as they held a 9-3-1 record after their first 13 games, losing just one game in overtime at home. Also playing well early in the season was Goalie James Reimer, who won four of his first five games before suffering an injured jaw while battling Brian Gionta of the Montreal Canadiens. However, the Leafs good start would quickly fade, as they struggled in November and December and entered the New Year with a record of 25-19-6. In January, with Jonas Gustavson, playing well in goal, the Maple Leafs were able to get back into the playoff hunt, winning seven of their first 11 games. However, continued unreliable play by both goalies would see the Leafs fade fast in February, as they lost and just one win in an 11 game stretch, before Coach Ron Wilson was fired on March 2nd. The Leafs would hire Randy Carlyle who was fired by the Anaheim Ducks in December, while in Anaheim Carlyle won a Stanley Cup in 2007. Despite a 3-1 win over the Canadiens in Carlyle’s first game the Leafs continued to struggle as they went on to finish the season with a record of 35-37-10. One big reason for the Leafs struggles was their penalty kill, which ranked worst in the NHL. One of the lone bright spots was the play of Phil Kessel, who led the team in scoring with 37 goals and 45 assists.
2012/13: The start of the season would be delayed more than three months due to a lockout, this only served as a reminder of the Maple Leafs recent struggles as they had not made the playoffs since 2004, before the lost 2005 season which began a seven year Collective Bargaining Agreement with a new Salary Cap. Just before the season started, General Manager Brian Burke would be fired and replaced by Dave Nonis. The Leafs would start the shortened 48 game season with a win, beating the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 at the Bell Centre. Though they would lose their first two games at home, the Maple Leafs played well at the start of the season, in Randy Carlyle’s first full season as coach, winning 10 of their first 16 games. The Maple Leafs were active throughout the season on the trade market adding several players including Matthew Lombardi and David Steckel. The moves would pay off, as the Leafs made a run at the playoffs with a 7-3-4 record in March. The Leafs would carry the strong play into April as they won four of their first six and clinched a playoff spot for the first time in nine years. The Maple Leafs would go on to finish the season with a record of 26-17-5, making the playoffs as the fifth seed. Phil Kessel would lead the Leafs in scoring with 20 goals and 32 assists. Nazeem Kadri would have a breakout season with 18 goals and 26 assists, while James van Riemsdyk had 18 goals in his first season in Toronto. On defense, Cody Franson and Captain Dion Phaneuf each had big seasons, while James Reimer became the Leafs starting goalie with 2.46 GAA and a 19-8-5 record.
2013 Playoffs: Facing the Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs, the Maple Leafs showed earl nerves, as they got slammed in the opener 4-1. However, the Leafs would come out stronger in Game 2, with James Reimer stopping 39 of 41 shots as the Maple Leafs evened the series with a 4-2 win, as Joffrey Lupul notched two goals to leads the Leafs offense. As the series shifted to Toronto the Leafs suffered more disappointment as the Bruins scored a 5-2 win in Game 3. The Bruins would also capture Game 4 at Air Canada Centre, winning in overtime 4-3. Facing elimination, the Leafs got a big game from James Reimer, who stopped 43 of 44 shots to lead the Leafs to a 2-1 win in Boston. Reimer would be just as strong in Game 5, coming within 26 seconds of a shutout as Milan Lucic scored with the Bruins trying to rally in the game’s final seconds with the extra attacker. The Maple Leafs would win the game 2-1 on goals by Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel. Taking the series to a seventh game in Boston, the Maple Leafs dominated the game for the first 45 minutes, and appeared to be primed for an upset leading 4-1 in the third period as fans back in Toronto were ready to celebrate the upset that would bring the Leafs back into relevance. However, the Bruins were not done as Nathan Horton scored with just over ten minutes left to make the score 4-2. Still the Leafs were well in control as the Bruins, pulled the goalie in the final two minutes in a desperate attempt to even the score. First it was Milan Lucic who scored with 1:22 left to trim the Leafs lead to 4-3. Just 31 seconds later Patrice Bergeron would even the score leaving Toronto in stunned disbelief. The Bruins would go on to win the game 5-4 as Bergeron scored again in overtime, leaving Leafs Nation a summer of heartbreak as the Bruins went on to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals.
2013/14: Following their first playoff appearance in nine years, the Maple Leafs looked to prove they were back to be a perennial contender in the NHL. Hoping to add some proven winners, the Leafs acquired Dave Bolland in a trade with the reigning champion Chicago Blackhawks and signed David Clarkson who was one of the top scorers with the New Jersey Devils. The Leafs also looked to strengthen their goaltending situation, trading Ben Scrivens and Matt Frattin to the Los Angeles Kings for Jonathan Bernier. Early on things looked good for Toronto, as they won six of their first seven games, including a trilling 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens to open the season, and a 5-4 shootout win over the Ottawa Senators in their home opener, on the way to an excellent October, in which they posted a record of 10-4-0. However, November and December would hardly be months to remember as the Maple Leafs as they need two months to match the ten wins they had in October. The Maple Leafs starting 2014 with a record of 20-16-5, would take part in a historic game on New Year’s Day as they played before a record 105,491 fans at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor against the Detroit Red Wings. The Leafs would win the game 3-2, with Jeffrey Lupul and Tyler Bozak beating Jimmy Howard in the shootout. While the Leafs lost their first four games after the Winter Classic, they soon began to play their best hockey of the season with a six game winning streak as they went into the Olympic Break with a record of 32-22-6, as they posted a record of 11-2-1 over a 14 game stretch between January 12th and February 8th. Hoping to continue their pre-break momentum, the Maple Leafs continued to play well in the first two weeks after Sochi, moving into third place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 36-24-8 on March 13th, after they took two of three games during a road trip through California. However, the bottom would suddenly drop out for the Maple Leafs as they lost their final eight games in March, as they lost 12 of their final 14 games to finish with a record of 38-36-8, missing the playoffs by nine points. One problem was a lower body injury suffered by Goalie Jonathan Bernier, who had a terrific first season in Toronto, posting a record of 26-19-7 with a 2.68 GAA and a .923 save percentage. James Reimer meanwhile struggled, posting a record of 12-16-1, with a 3.29 GAA, and a .911 save percentage. David Clarkson had to be the Leafs biggest disappointment, with a paltry five goals and six assists in 60 games, as Phil Kessel led the team in scoring with 37 goals and 43 assists.
2014/15: After missing the playoffs again, the Toronto Maple Leafs began to hit the reset button once again, as Brendan Shanahan was hired as the new President of Hockey Operations. It would be a quiet off-season in Toronto as Shanahan chose to focus on evaluation in his first season. He had to like what he saw early, as the Maple Leafs played well early in the season, posting a record of 19-9-3 in their first 31 games. However, in the middle of December the Leafs began to stumble losing six of their last eight games before the New Year. Things only got worse for Toronto in 2015, as they lost their first three games in January. Along the way, Brendan Shanahan began making crucial decisions, firing Coach Randy Carlyle, who before the season signed a contract extension for the 2016/17 season on January 6th. Assistant Coach Peter Horachek took over for the remainder of the season, but the Maple Leafs continued their nosedive. After the Leafs won their second game under Horachek they went on the worst stretch in franchise history, losing 11 straight games, with just one game being decided in overtime. Wins would be scarce the remainder of the season as the Maple Leafs missed the playoffs again with a record of 30-44-8. The Leafs were particularly bad on the road as they won just once in 25 games away from the Air Canada Centre after December. Phil Kessel would lead the Leafs in scoring with 61 points, while James van Riemsdyk had a team best 27 goals. After the year of evaluation was finished Brendan Shanahan made his feelings know, as he did a complete house cleaning, firing General Manager Dave Norris, the entire coach staff, and the scouting staff, along with the medical and training staff.
2015/16: It was an off-season of great change for the Toronto Maple Leafs as new President Brendan Shanahan began to make his mark on the team. His first step was bringing in two proven winners to lead the way. On the bench, Mike Babcock who had won a Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings was named Toronto’s new coach, while longtime New Jersey Devils President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello was named General Manager. The Leafs at the same time looked to get rid of bad contracts and focus on the future as Phil Kessel was sent to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a multiplayer deal. When teams start from scratch, patience is needed from the fans, as the Maple Leafs started quite slowly, winning just one of their first ten games. The Leafs played better in November and December, and entered the New Year holding a record of 14-15-7. With win is their first two games in January, the Maple Leafs were nearing playoff contention, but a five game losing streak would be a cold slap of reality. As they trade deadline approached the Maple Leafs held a major fire sale in February even trading Captain Dion Phaneuf to the Ottawa Senators. The Leafs would make five multi-player deals in February as they completely overhauled their roster. The Maple Leafs would hardly win over the final half of the season as they finished with the worst record in the NHL at 29-42-11. Combining regulation losses and overtime losses, the Maple Leafs set a new franchise record with 53 losses in the season.
2016/17: Despite coming off the worst season in the 100-year history of the Toronto Maple Leafs, there was a renewed sense of hope for the future with the selection of Auston Matthews with the first overall pick in the NHL Draft. Auston Matthews showed right away he was everything that the Maple Leafs had expected and more, as he scored four goals in the season opener. The four goals not enough as Toronto lost in overtime to the Ottawa Senators 5-4. Three nights later, the Leafs began the 100th home opener by honoring the past as the retired the numbers of all the players who were previously honored with banners. The Leafs would send fans home happy that night, winning 4-1 against the Boston Bruins. It would be just one of two wins for Toronto in October, as the young Maple Leafs had their early growing pains. Things began to pick up of the Maple Leafs in November as they won six of eight games at the Air Canada Centre, while in December they won five of six on the road as they went into the New Year with a record of 16-12-7. New Year’s Day gave the Maple Leafs more to celebrate as they hosted the Detroit Red Wings in the Centennial Classic at BMO Field, launching a yearlong celebration of the NHL’s 100th Anniversary. The game featured a frenetic third period with each team scoring three goals, as the Maple Leafs won 5-4 on an overtime goal by Auston Matthews. Over the next two months, the Maple Leafs stayed on the fringe of the playoff chase, by hovering near .500. Looking for some experience, the Maple Leafs acquired Brian Boyle from the Tampa Bay Lightning at the trade deadline. The deal had positive results as Toronto made its move in March, posting a 9-3-2 record as they grabbed the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference with a record of 40-27-15. Auston Matthews was the Maple Leafs leading scorer with 69 points, highlighted by 40 goals as he won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year.
2017 Playoffs: The Toronto Maple Leafs were back in the playoffs, but faced insurmountable odds against the Washington Capitals who finished with the best regular season record in the NHL for the second straight season. The Maple Leafs looked like the veteran team early in Game 1, as they took a 2-0 lead on goals by Mitchell Marner and Jake Gardiner. However, Washington battled back and forced overtime on a pair of goals by Justin Williams and won the game in overtime 3-2, with Tom Wilson scoring the game winner. The Maple Leafs continued their strong play in Game 2, again taking the early lead. This time two overtimes would be needed as the Maple Leafs stunned the Capitals 4-3 with Kasperi Kapanen scoring his second goal of the game, as Frederik Andersen stopped 47 of 50 shots. Air Canada Centre was loud for Game 3, as Auston Matthews netted his first career postseason goal. Once again 60 minutes was not enough as the Maple Leafs took the series lead thanks to a power play goal by Tyler Bozak in overtime. The Capitals came out extra determined in Game 4, and jumped out to a big lead early, scoring four times in the first period. The Leafs though fought hard to come back and fell one goal short, losing 5-4 as the Capitals evened the series at two games apiece. Back in Washington for Game 5, defense was the name of the game as overtime was needed once again, with the score tied 1-1 at the end of regulation. In overtime, the Capitals took control of the series with a goal by Justin Williams, just 64 seconds into sudden death. Game 6 would see no score until midway through the third period, when Matthews gave the Leafs a brief 1-0 lead. The Capitals would tie the game on a goal by Marcus Johansson as overtime was needed for the fifth time in six games. This would be where the Maple Leafs season ended as Johansson scored again to give the Capitals a 2-1 series clinching win.
2017-18: After making the playoffs, the Toronto Maple Leafs looked to get off to a strong start as Auston Matthews looked to build off winning the Calder Trophy and become the new face of the franchise. The Leafs had early success, winning six of their first seven games as Matthews was named the second star of the week. Despite a slump at the end of October, Toronto played strong hockey in November, as they recorded ten wins. December would bring difficulty to the Maple Leafs, as Matthews missed six games with a concussion. After starting the New Year with a record of 23-15-2, the Leafs hit their stride in around the All-Star Break, as they won 13 of 15 games. The Maple Leafs were in the best division in the NHL as the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins were among the best teams in the NHL. Toronto was not far behind as they were securely in third place. Auston Matthews would be slowed late in the season by a shoulder injury, as he finished with a team-high 34 goals in 62 games. Mitch Mariner meanwhile led the team with 69 points as the Maple Leafs posted a record of49-26-7.
2018 Playoffs: The Toronto Maple Leafs would face the Boston Bruins in the first round. Things did not start well for Toronto as they were throttled in the first two games, losing the opener 5-1 and suffering a 7-3 loss in Game 2. With their season on the brink in Game 3, the Maple Leafs got two goals from Patrick Marleau, and 40 saves from Frederik Andersen to record a 4-2 win. Things looked bleak for Toronto as they suffered a 3-1 loss in Game 4 and went back to Boston facing elimination. Frederik Anderson came out in Game 5 and had one of the best games of his career, making 42 saves, as the Leafs kept their hopes alive with a 4-3 win. Andersen was strong again in Game 6, stopping 32 of 33 shots, as the Leafs forced a seventh game with a 3-1 win. The Maple Leafs battled in Game 7, holding a 4-3 lead after two periods as Marleau netted a pair of goals. However, Boston scored four goals in the third period to win the game 7-4 to advance to the second round.
2018/19: The Toronto Maple Leafs made big moves in the off-season, signing John Tavares to a seven contract worth $77 million. Tavares an All-Star center had long dreamed of playing for the Maple Leafs as he tweeted a picture of himself as a young boy sleeping in a bed with a Maple Leafs blanket. Tavares had a solid first season in Toronto, scoring a team-best 47 goals with 41 assists. Once again Mitch Marner led the team in scoring with 94 points as he had 68 assists. Auston Matthews continued his consistent play with 37 goals in 68 games. Adding 52 assists from Morgan Reilly, the Maple Leafs had one of the most loaded offenses in the NHL. Toronto played well early in the season, holding a record of 26-11-2 as December came to an end. The Maple Leafs dropped six of ten games in January. After nine wins in February, the Maple Leafs finished on a down note, as they won just one of their final six games, posting a record do of 46-28-8.
2019 Playoffs: Facing the Boston Bruins for the second straight season, the Toronto Maple Leafs got off to a much better start, stealing Game 1 in Boston 4-1 as Mitch Marner scored twice and Frederik Andersen made 37 saves. After the Bruins record a 4-1 win in Game 2, the Maple Leafs again took the series lead with a 3-2 win Scotiabank Arena, as Andersen again had a big night with 34 saves. Despite two goals for Auston Matthews, the Leafs were not able to keep control of the series as the Bruins won 6-4 to even the series at two games apiece. The Maple Leafs would go into Boston, with a 2-1 win in Game 5, to again take the series lead. With a chance to close the series out at home, the Maple Leafs faltered in Game 6, losing 4-2. The Bruins would go on to once again rake away the Maple Leafs in seven games, as they won 5-1 at TD Garden.
©MMXX Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Hockey League. This site is not affiliated with the Toronto Maple Leafs or the NHL. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on September 24, 2002. Last updated on April 9, 2020 at 1:50 pm ET.