Now that I'm back from my summer vacation in beautiful Florida, it's time to gear up for the start of the NHL season with only a month left to go. There's a positive vibe around the city and Leaf fans seem to be pretty excited. For the first time in years the team as an identity and a direction. Fans around the city are debating the expectations for this team; some expect the playoffs and some expect the Bruins to have another lottery pick. Team projections have been beaten to death already, but the team is made up of players, so I'm going to do my best to give some projections for the main individual players on the Leafs. I'm going to leave goaltenders Giguere and Gustavsson out because...
So lately I've been focusing on how the Leafs will or will not make the playoffs, goaltending, defense, forwards, etc. Now it's time for a change, let's take a look at the Toronto Marlies, the AHL affiliate for the Maple Leafs.
Last Season the Marlies finished with a record of 33-35-6, missing the playoffs. This season though will be different, as some expect that the Marlies will be contenders.
With the likely additions of Brayden Irwin, Luca Caputi, Jerry D'Amigo, Jeff Finger and Matt Lashoff, will improve the team's core. Ben Ondrus is the key subtraction on the team.
The goaltending arrival of Jussai Rynnas, will take some of the pressure off of James Reimer.
Starting September 14th I will be counting down to the Leafs regular season opener on October 7th.
To do this I will be introducing a new feature I will be doing called "A Player-a-Day" Starting with the role players (Sjostrom, Finger etc) and build up to the key players (Kessel, Phaneuf etc)
So watch for it starting September 14th, shortly after the conclusion of "The Future"
Now that the summer of Kovalchuk is finally over, and Kovy's contract is accepted and now his cap hit is in effect, the Devils are over the cap.
So The Devils need to move someone...
One or Two of thses playeers need to leave. There's a couple of teams that would be willing to take on some cap for the Devils. Including the Maple Leafs.
I'm sure Brian Burke will be talking to Lou about a possible deal, likely based around one of the top two names. The Leafs are short on cap space themselves so a player like Mikhail Grabovski or Jeff Finger would need to go the other way in a deal for Elias, while for Langenbrunner ...
What is stopping the Leafs from ending their playoff drought? Is it the goaltending? No, the goalies are willing and able to carry the load of a playoff team. Ah! The defense! Well no, it's our strongest position. So What about the forwards? Well...
The Leafs enter the 2010-11 season with a much improved forward corps. With the additions of Mike Brown, Kris Versteeg and Colby Armstrong, and the likely arrival of top prospect Nazem Kadri, the Leafs will no doubt be a much more violent team (if Ron Wilson allows them to play their own game) and threatening in terms of offensive fire power.
Let's take a look at the Leafs options for the top 6:
The Toronto Maple Leafs will look to end their playoff drought this season, and after their successful off-season, it no longer seems to be a long shot. The strongest part of this club is their defence, and I will take a trip into the Maple Leafs back-end core which welcomes three new faces in Matt Lashoff, Danny Richmond and Brett Lebda.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are arguably in the top 5 for defence in all of the NHL. Lead by Captain Dion Phaneuf, outcast Tomas Kaberle and 3rd year player Luke Schenn, not to mention potential bounce-back hopefuls Mike Komisarek and Francois Beauchemin, and young potential star named Carl Gunnarson. It's a top six you cannot balk at, but the additions of t...