Do early season games matter for the Maple Leafs?

Do early season games matter for the Maple Leafs?

It’s the beginning of a new hockey season, meaning it’s the best possible time for overreacting. Is your team undefeated? They’re a cup contender. Winless? Better hunker down for a long season of watching Connor Bedard highlights and playing draft lottery simulators. Of course, we all know it’s ridiculous to draw conclusions about anything based on the beginning of the season. This is especially true for the Leafs, as their season will be judged on playoff performance. But that doesn’t necessarily mean early games are entirely meaningless. Getting off to a good start is essential, setting the tone for a long 82-game season. But just how meaningful are early season games? How difficult is it to overcome a slow start? To hold on to standings position after a hot start? Let’s take a look at some teams in recently who show us some answers.
We’ll start by going six years back, to the 2016-17 season, taking a look at the three most recent seasons that were on a “normal schedule” unaffected by the pandemic. Taking a look at the standings on December 1st, the Montreal Canadiens sat atop the Eastern conference, while the Chicago Blackhawks had the top spot in the West. By the en …

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Author: Jaden Ho / The Leafs Nation