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It’s All About The Playoffs For The Core Of The Toronto Maple Leafs

from Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,

So the Leafs are really pretty much the same team they were before the deadline, perhaps slightly improved, with the same strengths and same weaknesses. No. 1 on the list of those weaknesses is the uncertain situation in net, and while four different masked men have now earned points for Toronto this season, we all are pretty familiar with the NHL’s rule that you can only play one at a time.

Currently, that looms as a prickly problem for Keefe. He’s got lots of goalies hailing from lots of different places, and he just needs one of them to play well enough to get the club past the first round of the playoffs. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

The fate of this team in this bizarro season rests on Keefe identifying a goalie, and on whether Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, John Tavares, William Nylander, Morgan Rielly, Jake Muzzin, Zach Hyman and perhaps one or two others have the ability to play much better in the playoffs this spring than they did in last summer’s bubble playoffs. Joe Thornton and Jason Spezza are nice stories and occasional contributors, as is Wayne Simmonds. But the big money boys have got to come through.

For 44 games, this team has performed very well. If it can hang on to first place, sometime next month it will likely face Montreal in the playoffs. That could be loads of fun and the stars will need to come out.

Dubas has so far declined to touch the core of this team, believing it will mature and eventually perform at a level that might get the Leafs to within striking distance of the Cup.

Soon, we will see if he was right. Or, more accurately, whether he was right within the context of a season like no other.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink


d ca's avatar

Toronto Maple Leaf Playoff history since the lockout:

DNQ for playoffs: 2005-12
Conference Finals loss: 2013
DNQ for playoffs: 2014-16
First round loss: 2017-19
Qualifying Round loss: 2020

Their core players must suck if it’s all about playoffs.

Sick of hearing about the Leafs: they’re built for a 1st or 2nd round exit.

Posted by d ca on 04/17/21 at 04:03 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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