I love making wild and crazy predictions about the Toronto Maple Leafs. Thinking about hockey never gets old for me, and no team catches my interest like the Leafs. That said, I'm often way off with my predictions simply because I don't play it safe. Let's look at how some of my earlier predictions are holding up at the 3/4 mark of the season.
Prediction 1: Matthews wins the Rocket Richard Trophy
LOL AUSTON MATTHEWS WITH 0.4 SECONDS LEFT pic.twitter.com/E5tmdUhbxz— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 28, 2022
Status: On track. Auston Matthews leads the league with 49 goals. Draisaitl is in second place with 48 goals, and Kreider is in third with 45 goals. Honorable mention to Ovechkin with 42 goals, but he's got a lot of ground to make up. The thing here is, Matthews has played six less games than Draisaitl and Kreider, and five less games than Ovechkin. He's scoring at higher GPG pace than everyone chasing him, so if he stays healthy this prediction is looking like it would be a winner.
Prediction 2: Nick Ritchie fails to hit 20 goals
Status: Uh, we're good here. Nick Ritchie got traded to Arizona after being demoted to the Marlies (the AHL affiliate for the Leafs). He's sitting at 9 goals in 48 games, and he plays for one of the worst teams in the league. Safe bet he's not going on an 11-goal heater to finish the season.
Prediction 3: Jack Campbell gets at least one Vezina vote
Status: Yikes. This one was looking really good in January, but Campbell has fallen off a cliff with his performance and is currently injured. The only way he's getting any Vezina consideration at all is if he comes back and goes something crazy like 10-0-0 to finish the season. He's capable of that. He's a very streaky goaltender. But, I don't know if he's got a shot to even get a single vote. We'll see.
Prediction 4: Jason Spezza scores 20 goals
Status: Another one that was looking good in January but is less and less likely to play out the way I want with each passing game. Spezza has seemed slow lately, which makes sense given his age. At this point I'm not entirely sure the Leafs will want him back to play next season. The dude still has 10 goals and 21 points, but the fourth line is looking rough with him and Simmonds right now. There's no way he's getting 20 goals this year, but maybe he can deliver one last bit of magic in the playoffs?
Prediction 5: Marner hits 100 points on the season
Status: This one is exciting. This was looking bad in January, but Marner is the hottest player in the NHL in 2022. He has 76 points in 57 games, so he's hampered by the fact he's missing 9 games, which is more than 10 percent of the season. The Leafs have 16 games to go and Marner needs 24 points. He needs 1.5 PPG for the rest of the season to hit 100. If we look at his last five games, he has 11 points, which 2.2 PPG. He's currently playing at a pace that would see him hit 100, so it's all about maintaining that momentum at this point. We'll see, but I say he does it! Of course I do, it's my prediction!