TORONTO - To fully appreciate what the Maple Leafs have accomplished as they reached the unofficial quarter mark of the season this weekend, look no further than their depleted ranks up the middle.
During Toronto’s 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, the four players who took regular shifts at centre were Peter Holland, Jay McClement, Jerred Smithson and Trevor Smith.
If you add up the NHL stats accrued by these four players last season, McClement (17), Smithson (6), Holland (1) and Smith (0) combined for 24 points in 88 games played.
Sidney Crosby alone has more than that this season, having racked up 25 already.
The fact that the Leafs have managed to remain competitive on most nights is a credit to the organization’s ability to deal with such adversity, especially at the centre position.
Indeed, after 20 games of the 2013-14 campaign, the Leafs have managed to accumulate 25 points thanks to a 12-7-1 record.