Think back to the beginning of this season. If I had predicted that three Toronto Maple Leafs players would score 30 goals this season, admit it, you would have laughed hysterically.
Now, fast forward to the day of the 54th game of the season. Currently, Phil Kessel (although on a agonizing goalless streak), Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin are all on pace to score at least 30 goals by season's end.
Obviously, there is a chance that one or two of these players won't make it to 30, but with these three players now making up the first line, their chances have increased.
Phil Kessel is a streaky scorer, we all know this and have witnessed it ever since he put the blue and white jersey on for the first time. If history is any indication of things to come, Kessel will go on another big scoring streak over the next five to seven games. As soon and Phil gets his groove back, 30 goals shouldn't be a problem.
Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin have been very consistent throughout the season, and in my opinion, will have no trouble hitting the 30-goal mark.
After doing a little digging, I found that the last Toronto Maple Leafs team that had three players who scored 30 goals or more in a season was the 1995-96 team. Mike Gartner (35), Mats Sundin (33) and Doug Gilmour (32) all hit the 30-goal mark that season.
This means it's been 15 long years since the Maple Leafs organization iced a team with three bona fide snipers.
Says a lot about the recent history of the franchise, doesn't it?
Clarke MacArthur is another player who may sniff the 30-goal mark, although he would have to go on quite the tear for the remaining 29 games of the season.
The last Maple Leafs team to ice four players who scored 30 or more was in 1989-90. Gary Leeman (51), Daniel Marois (39), Vincent Damphousse (33) and Ed Olczyk (32) all accomplished this feat 21 seasons ago.
Within the last three years, only a handful of teams have been able to assemble a roster with over two 30-goal scorers. Even though this season has been full of negatives for the Toronto Maple Leafs, this is something they can be proud of.
Kessel, Grabovski, Kulemin and MacArthur will undoubtedly be the building blocks in an attempt to build another perennial playoff team. Obviously, more pieces of the puzzle need to be put in place to make this team a contender, but currently having four players with 30-goal potential is a good start.
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