What will happen?
Well what to say? After CUJO left for Hockeytown there were loads of dissapointed fans around and the aquisition of Belfour coming off a sub-par season couldn’t in any way make the fans of CUJO happy.On the other hand, Belfour seems determined to take the Leafs deep into the playoffs. He’s already talked a lot about his excitement of coming to a team he grew up cheering for. And he loves to play both for and in his native country. Thinking of that, Toronto is a perfect fit for him.
What about the offence then? The club really got to get Mogilny, Reichel and Hoglund going. The same goes for centreman Alyn McCauley. If he’s put on the second line he’d be more effective than being a fourth-line grinder, and if they pair him up with Mogilny maybe they could get that guy going as well. Add Roberts to that line when he gets healthy and you have a high quality second line.
Hoglund? Well, the guy can score, at least sometimes, but where should they put him? On the first line to reunite “The Swedish meatballs-line” or playing him on the third line together with the likes of newly aquired Fitzgerald and maybe Tie Domi? It’s a pretty tough desicion but I trust in Quinn to make the right chioce there.
The blueline really lost a fan-favorite in Yushkevich while obtaining the hard hitting Svehla. Will Svehla be ready to bounce back into action after announcing his retirement? And how motivated will he be when he already once decided to call in quits? Those are thing only time can tell but Leaf fans around the globe would want to see a great season out of Svehla to heal the wounds left after losing Yushkie.
There should still be enough firepower to get the team equally far in the playoff race but will they proceed further in the playoffs next season? In CUJO they had one of the games’ top goalie. Although many feel he never really could lead a team deep into the playoffs, he’s probably silenced most of the critics with his huge game come playoff time during his years as a Leaf. Belfour has always been a strong playoff-goalie but struggled during last year’s campaign with the Stars. A lot of the team’s success is depending on his play the upcoming season.
Summing it all together, I’d say that the team looks in just about the same shape as at the start of last season. The only thing needed as I see it is a replacement for injured Gary Roberts, as the Leafs definitely need his presence on the second line. I’d replace him with Fleury, whose hard-nosed and agressive style is very similar to Roberts’ game. He does have a major problem in drawing stupid and sometimes game deciding penalties, but, overall, he’d be a good replacement.