Is this the year the Leafs end the Stanley Cup drought?
It has been the summer time of “JT” for starry-eyed Leafs followers, thrilled that free agent John Tavares (37G-49A-86 Pts) selected Toronto as the place to make $11 million US a season.
Fairly good cash for a man who is likely to be a second-line centre.
With Tavares added to a lineup that already options Auston Matthews (34-29-63) and Nazem Kadri (32-23-55), the Leafs have world-class depth down the center.
These three are complimented properly by scoring wingers Mitch Marner (22-47-69), Patrick Marleau (27-20-47) and William Nylander (20-41-61), presuming the restricted free agent indicators a deal.
This is what it’s good to learn about each Canadian NHL staff:
If the pre-season is a sign, the staff will rating objectives, some suggesting it might turn out to be the first to surpass 300 since the 2009-10 Washington Capitals (318).
In internet, Frederik Andersen (.918 SV%, 2.81 GAA) has established himself as an all-star calibre No. 1. Behind him, Garret Sparks can present the relaxation Andersen will want if the Leafs are to go deep in the playoffs, however like most groups, an damage to their No. 1 will ship the season off the rails.
The place there may be nonetheless a query mark for the Leafs, pretty or unfairly, is on defence. The numbers of Morgan Reilly (4-46-52) and Jake Gardiner (5-47-52) would possibly counsel in any other case, however to this level, neither may be thought-about an all-star-calibre No. 1, able to offering that shutdown 28-30 minutes that the league’s finest defencemen present.
Ron Hainsey (4-19-23) is reliable however restricted at age 37, and Nikita Zaitsev (5-8-13) is gifted however vulnerable to errors.
The third-period collapse in Sport 7 towards Boston final spring was a reminder that the Leafs nonetheless had a methods to go.
Toronto will have the ability to run-and-gun it with the finest in the league this season, however the followers and its group are singularly targeted on the spring. Offence alone will not win a Stanley Cup.
Names and numbers:
2017-2018 file: 49-26-7 (105 factors) third in Atlantic Division, misplaced to Boston in first spherical
New faces: F John Tavares, F Tyler Ennis, F Par Lindholm, D Igor Ozhiganov, F Josh Jooris
Key forwards: John Tavares, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander (unsigned), Patrick Marleau, Nazem Kadri
Key defencemen: Morgan Rielly, Jake Gardiner, Ron Hainsey, Nikita Zaitsev
No. 1 goaltender: Frederik Andersen
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