The first month of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ NHL season

Olga Steblyk / Sputnik Photography

The Toronto Maple Leafs 2023-24 season is well underway, with their first month of play recently wrapping up. 

The Leafs finished their opening month of the season with a 5-3-1 record, including a thrilling victory on opening night.  

The Leafs took their opening night victory in a 6-5 barn burner, winning the game in a shootout over their arch-rivals, the Montreal Canadiens.  

While the opening night victory was a bright spot, the month as a whole was a little rocky.  

A 5-3-1 record isn’t bad by any means, but the Leafs had high expectations heading into the year, even being picked by many to win the Stanley Cup. The Leafs have also had a mix of highs and lows when it comes to these games, as scoring goals has not been an issue for the team (including 2 hat tricks from superstar Auston Matthews). But keeping the puck out of their own net has been another issue. 

“The season so far has been a 50-50 split,” said Leafs fan Koyal Vyas, a digital media and journalism student in her sixth year at Wilfrid Laurier University. “Offensively, they have been exceeding expectations but from a defensive perspective, it is difficult to watch.”  

The Leafs have also had some players exceed expectations, including the previously mentioned Matthews, who is currently the front-runner for the league goalscoring title.  

Another player who has exceeded expectations is rookie goaltender Joseph Woll, who has taken over the starter role in net.  

“Joseph Woll has to be the most impressive Leaf so far,” said Alex Vessoyan, a second-year criminology student who said he’s been lifelong fan of the team. “We got to see bits of him late in the season last year last year [and] he seems to be really coming into his own this year.”  

Even with all the bright spots on the team, the Leafs have had a few rough patches in the opening month of the year. Vessoyan said John Klingberg, one of the Leaf’s prized off-season acquisitions, was a “defensive liability” and that his performance has been “pretty underwhelming so far.” 

The Toronto Maple Leafs have had a bit of a shaky start to the year, but not all hope is lost. The season is still young and lots can change. 

The Leafs hope to build off the bright spots in their season so far and clean up the not-so-bright spots and look to win the coveted Stanley Cup. 

This article was originally published in print Volume 23, Issue 4 on Thursday, Dec. 7.

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