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Best Single Season Goal Scorer in Leafs History: The Key Milestones

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To be the best single season goal scorer in Leafs history, these are the milestones to beat:

(Matthews may hit them this season. Stay tuned...)


Rick Vaive's total of 54 goals was obtained by playing 77 out of an available 80 games in the 1981-82 season. That means if we adjust Vaive's accomplishment to a standardized 82-game season, then he has 54 / 77 x [82 x (77/80)] = 55.35 ~= 55 goals


Vaive holds the biggest overall goal total (which means nothing) because Frank Mahovlich's season from 1960-61 is slightly more impressive: 48 goals in 70 games out of an available 70 games. That means Mahovlich's season translates to 48 / 70 x [82 x (70/70)] ~= 56.23 ~= 56 goals


EDIT: Charlie Conacher has them both beat however. His season in 1934-35 was: 36 goals in 47 games out of an available 48 games.

That translates to 36 / 47 x [82 x (47/48)] ~= 61.5 ~= 62 goals


Auston Matthews' total of 47 goals was obtained in 70 out of an available 70 games in the 2019-2020 season. That translates to 47 / 70 x [82 x (70/70)] ~= 55.06 ~= 55 goals... a tie with Vaive but not quite the big M. 


This season, Matthews has 35 goals out of an available 56 games. In order to surpass Vaive, Mahovlich, and Conacher he needs to hit:


Vaive: 54 / 77 x [56 x (77/80)] = 37.8 goals ------(to break record)--------------->  38 goals.

Mahovlich: 48 / 70 x [56 x (70/70)] = 38.4 goals ---------(to break record) ------>  39 goals.

Conacher: 36 / 47 x [56 x (47/48)] = 42.0 goals ---------(to break record) ------>  43 goals.




Long story short: IF Matthews hits 38 goals THIS season, he passes Vaive. If he hits 39 goals THIS season, he passes Mahovlich. If he hits 43 goals, he passes Conacher. 


So these are the milestones (for this season only): 38, 39, and 43.  Matthews will be regarded as having the greatest season in Leafs history (goals wise) IF he hits 43. 



Edited by WordsOfWisdom
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Hopefully we don't get into a huge debate and people don't get butthurt and sh_t all over this. I'm literally the only one posting in the Leafs section these days so if two new Leafs posts offend people then well... piss off lol.  :) 


I won't argue the goal totals. I'm presenting the numbers, plain and simple. 


I'm even being GENEROUS in the case of Vaive because he posted his numbers in the high scoring 80's.  Nobody in their right mind would equate an 80's milestone with something from today, which is why Ovechkin's numbers are so much more impressive. But in any event, I evened up the GAMES PLAYED to make a LEVEL PLAYING FIELD, without worrying about the ERA these players played in. Just a straight performance over GAMES comparison. 


I also factored in INJURIES.... as in the player got PUNISHED for them, not rewarded.  If you missed half of your team's games then your scoring pace is based on the number of games your TEAM played, not what YOU played. I've tried explaining this concept several times and nobody gets it so I'll just say look at the formulas and accept them as being true. I did the math and it's right.  Trust in WoW lol.  :) 




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UPDATE:  Okay, so it has been brought to my attention that Charlie Conacher has Mahovlich beat for most impressive single-season goal totals for the Leafs.


Here are Conacher's milestones in a 56-game season:


Conacher in 1930-31 season: 31 / 38 x [56 x (38/44)] =  39.45 goals ---------(to break record) ------>  40 goals.

Conacher in 1931-32 season: 34 / 44 x [56 x (44/48)] =  39.67 goals ---------(to break record) ------>  40 goals.

Conacher in 1933-34 season: 32 / 42 x [56 x (42/48)] =  37.33 goals ---------(to break record) ------>  38 goals.

Conacher in 1934-35 season: 36 / 47 x [56 x (47/48)] =  42.00 goals ---------(to break record) ------>  43 goals.


Matthews pulled ahead of Mahovlich tonight with goal #39, but Conacher's records still stand. 


NOTE: The 1930-31 season was 44 games total. The rest were all 48 games total. 


So, the mark to beat is 42 goals.   Whew!   :)


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  • 2 weeks later...

Auston Matthews scores again!  Goal #41 on the season.  41 goals in just 51 GP.  Matthews has now hit the equivalent of the 60-goal plateau!  Charlie Conacher is the only other Leafs player in franchise history who can say the same thing. We've gone past the Vaive's and Mahovlich's of the Leafs world now. Only one man left.


The Leafs have ONE game remaining.


Matthews can TIE Conacher's milestone/record if he can score ONE more goal. If he gets TWO, it's a new Leafs record.


I know there aren't a whole lot of media outlets picking up on this, but I also know they'll catch up eventually once they get their statisticians on it, and then act like they're the first ones breaking the story to us (lol). 


What is the significance of this you may ask?  The Leafs are a century-old franchise. If you think of all the players that have ever worn the blue and white, Auston Matthews has a chance to be regarded as the best single season goal scorer of them all.  That's a remarkable achievement for any player but especially a young player. Anytime you become the best that a franchise has ever had, that's a rare feat. This raises the bar for the franchise to new heights.


The career milestones like total goals, points, etc... obviously take time. Matthews would have to play the bulk of his career in Toronto and stay healthy to reach those. However, I think it's pretty clear that he's on the right pace to destroy those franchise marks as well. But we're not going to worry about those for several more years. One step at a time.



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Leafs coasted to the finish line. Kind of a crap end to a great regular season. Matthews went silent in the final game, and as a result Conacher still holds the distinction of having the best goal scoring season in Leafs history. Matthews slots in at #2. Thanks for playing. 


So what's the big deal you might ask?  Well, if you look at most NHL players, their best seasons come early in their career. Example: Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin. The milestones Matthews is setting now are probably as good as it's ever going to get for him. Scoring at a 60-goal pace is a feat that he's not likely to duplicate. When/if the NHL resumes an 82-game schedule, it's quite possible that Matthews may never officially hit 50 goals. Injuries are always a thing. Lockouts are always a thing. Circumstance, timing, having good teammates, luck, etc. It all plays a role. Look at how John Tavares' numbers have fluctuated for example. 


I know in his mind (Matthews) there was nothing to play for in that final game against Winnipeg. But statistically speaking there was, and that may have been his first and last chance at it. 




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