It’s New Year’s Eve, and 2022 is quickly coming to a close. For those whose plans don’t get in the way, the Leafs play the Avalanche tonight at 7:00 to close out 2022.

Every year around this time, Sportsnet and TSN and all the other sports channels fill every spare moment with “best of the year” highlights. Best sports highlights in general, best NHL highlights, best goals — you know the compilations I’m talking about. As much as I’ve normally seen them far too many times by the time they stop airing each year, I always enjoy having them on in the background around the post-Christmas and just post-New Year season. I don’t sit down to watch them or anything, but it’s fun to see the sports guys do neat things in the background while I’m doing whatever else I’m doing in the first few days of the year.

Anyway, in that spirit, here are five of my picks for best neat things that Leafs players did in 2022. These are in no particular order because I never could choose favourites.

To start with, Matthews’ 60th last season was a beauty, to be sure, but I always really liked the record-breaking goal against the Stars last year. The speed, the deke, and the OT winner? Amazing.

Second, I’m gonna go over to the goal that made me believe again. Game 5, William Nylander, 3-2. It was a shame the series didn’t end the right way, but this goal and the efforts toward the end of the series really reinvigorated my Passion.

Next, let’s go to a recent highlight. Tavares’ goal to complete his hattrick against Philly in early November was an absolute beauty.

Next, let’s go with Mitch scoring two goals in 37 second against the Panthers in April. The first one was a ridiculous solo 1-on-4 effort — shorthanded too!

Finally, let’s throw in the old guys goal where Spezza scored against the Flyers off of a beautiful play between himself, Giordano, and Simmonds. That’s three Maple Leafs’ Legends right there.

What are your favourite Leafs’ plays and memories from 2022?

Around the NHL

This is from a couple of days ago, but it continues to be a rough season for JT Miller. It seems like he’s taking his frustrations out on his own goalie.

As well, Devante Smith-Pelly has announced his retirement from hockey after 8 seasons and 395 games in the NHL. His most recent NHL season was with the Capitals in 2018, so he was able to cap it off with a Stanley Cup win too. Congrats on your retirement, Devante!

Happy New Year everyone!