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Maple Leafs’ Best Playoff Player? Nylander, Matthews or Marner

The Toronto Maple Leafs get critiqued for not showing up during the playoffs. Which one of the core players has the best postseasons?

One of the biggest criticisms the Toronto Maple Leafs face is that, when matters the most, the team’s three youngest Core Four players don’t show up. More specifically, they play better during the regular season than they play during the postseason. Is that true?

Certainly, when evaluating the value of NHL players, their play during the postseason is one key measuring stick. In this post, I want to dig into and quickly compare the playoff performances of the three youngest of the team’s Core Four.

I’ll look at how William Nylander, Mitch Marner, and Auston Matthews play during the postseason when compared to their play during the regular season.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Dubas, Schenn, Perry & More

Comparing Playoff Points for Matthews, Marner & Nylander

Analyzing playoff points as a percentage when compared to their regular season points can provide insights into how players perform when the pressure is on. In this case, Nylander has an advantageous 103% ratio, indicating that he performs slightly better in the playoffs compared to the regular season.

William Nylander, Maple Leafs

Meanwhile, both Marner and Matthews see a drop-off in their postseason scoring. Marner scores at a 70% rate and Matthews at a 69% rate. It is interesting to note that Nylander’s improvement contradicts the notion that he underperforms when it matters most.

Related: Just How Attractive Is the Job of Maple Leafs GM?

Postseason Defensive Contributions for Matthews, Marner & Nylander

Looking beyond point production, we can examine other playoff statistics to gain a more comprehensive understanding of player performance. Matthews stands out in this regard, leading the Maple Leafs forwards in blocked shots and ranking second in hits during the most recent playoffs.

This trend is consistent, as Matthews has consistently demonstrated his willingness to contribute defensively in previous postseason games. These defensive contributions highlight Matthews’ impact on the game, even when he may not be scoring at his usual rate.

The Bottom Line

Analyzing playoff performance and defensive contributions can provide valuable insights into a player’s impact on the ice during the postseason. While Nylander’s improved playoff performance challenges the notion of underperformance, Matthews’ defensive contributions highlight his well-rounded game.

Marner’s the one player who does not fare so well during the postseason. I have to wonder if it’s because he’s smaller and the grind wears him down more. The truth is that there’s quite a size difference between the three players.

MItch Marner Maple Leafs 4
MItch Marner Maple Leafs 4

Matthews stands at 6-foot-3 and weighs 208 pounds. He’s bigger than many other centres in terms of his size. Nylander is also bigger than many fans believe. He stands 6-foot-0 and weighs 204 pounds. That size is respectable among right-wingers. He only weighs four pounds less than Matthews.

However, Marner is smaller in stature. He’s listed at 5-foot-11 and 181 pounds. He’s smaller when compared to many other right-wingers. Obviously, size is not the sole determinant of success; however, I wonder if it’s one reason why Marner’s postseason impact is not as high as Nylander’s.

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