Possibly The Worst
If there are any of you Leaf fans still riding the playoff wagon, now is the time to jump off. It's not happening, let it go.
Yes they had a very impressive December, but when all is said and done, statistically this is still the worst post-lockout Leafs team. Sure mathematically they're still in, but I don't see how this Leafs team can turn it around and start winning a heck of a lot more games than they did in the first half.
Rather than tell you how this is the worst team post-lockout, let me show you:
Shown above are the stats for each post-lockout Leafs team, 42 games into the season, which is where the Leafs currently sit. As you can see, this year's version of the Leafs has accumulated the least amount of points over the first 42 games.
Keep in mind that none of these teams has made the playoffs. Now while this year's team sits close to the previous two editions of this team, take a look at the 05-06 team. Even at 51pts at 42 games into the season, that team was unable to make the playoffs. This year's team finds itself a whole 14 points behind that team, which is 7 wins. Making up 7 wins on a team that didn't make the playoffs will be almost impossible in itself. Making up even more wins to catch a playoff team seems unthinkable.
Now I know anything is possible, and believe me, watching Bret Hart return to the WWE last night, I can attest to that statement. But this team is going to have to make an immediate turn around and not only be competitive, but unbeatable.
One thing I will point out however, is that the 05-06 season is not a fair representation of the 09-10 season. Just take a look at the current standings. The 51 points that the Leafs had, 42 games in during the 05-06 season would have them currently sitting in 5th place in the Eastern Conference. So yes, parity has increased a lot over the last few seasons, especially in the east.
With that said, the Leafs absolutely cannot give up now. They have an extremely important game with the Panthers this evening at the ACC. This game is definitely a must win. Should they lose, the Leafs will fall 6 points behind the Panthers, who still wouldn't even be a playoff team with a win tonight.
Gustavsson is your starter this evening. Komisarek will be out of the lineup with a tweaked shoulder. The other injuries are Grabovski, who is expected to miss 6 weeks with a wrist injury and Wayne Primeau. Luke Schenn will skate with Kaberle tonight on the top pairing, according to TSN.
Don't stress too much, enjoy the game tonight!