Credit Leafs’ (slightly) older players for playoff run, too
Much of the focus regarding the Toronto Maple Leafs’ run to a playoff spot revolves around Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander. Failing that, people fawn over the job Mike Babcock’s done integrating those new pieces.
But ... let’s take a moment to give some other key, not-quite-as-young figures some credit, too.
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The easiest way to illustrate this mix of new and near-new is to look at the ages and point totals of the Maple Leafs’ top 10 scorers:
1. Auston Matthews - 19 years old, 69 points
2. James van Riemsdyk - 27, 62 points
3. Nazem Kadri - 26, 61 points
3. William Nylander - 20, 61 points
3. Mitch Marner - 19, 61 points
6. Tyler Bozak - 30, 55 points
7. Jake Gardiner - 26, 43 points
8. Connor Brown - 23, 36 points
8. Nikita Zaitsev 25, 36 points
10. Leo Komarov - 30, 32 points
Again, there’s nothing wrong with highlighting the Buds’ ridiculous bounty of rookie difference-makers.
There’s a feel-good story to long-suffering Leafs such as JVR, Kadri and Bozak enjoying some glory. It doesn’t seem like we need to #FreeJakeGardiner any longer.