Why the Toronto Maple Leafs WILL make the playoffs.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are the evil empire of the NHL. People either love them or love to hate them. The haters will always find a reason to hate any move the leafs make while the hopeless romantics will praise just about any move they make. But I am more excited for this season then any other and they will make the playoffs this year and here is why….I would first like to start off by saying that I very much expect to be ripped because thats what this site has seemingly turned into anytime the Leafs are mentioned. But for once I ask everybody to keep it civil, leaf fans and haters alike.

Ill first start off with the fowards. Many people are expecting this to be the leafs main trouble area going into training camp and ill tend to agree with them. JFJ had a decent off season but he did not get a winger for Mats. Although this would be difficult given the leafs tight cap situation, so you cannot fully blame him. The leafs however will have to make due with what they already have. I will give my own line combination on what I think they should do.

Line 1

Steen-Sundin-Pohl

– Steen is already the face of the young Maple Leafs so why not put him with the face of the Maple Leafs. You may question Pohl being on the top line but he is talented and maybe playing with Sundin could kick him up a bit.

Line 2

Tucker-Wellwood-O’Neill

– O’Neill had a horrible first year in Toronto but heres to hoping that Paul Maurice can get him to be the 30 goal man he used to be. Toronto really needs at least 20 goals from both him and Tucker off this 2nd line or they are going no where.

Line 3

Ponikarovsky-Peca-Antropov

– Peca was a great addition to the team but finding linemates for him will be difficult. Poni and Antro seem to work well off each other and both are strong in the defensive zone so why not put them both with Peca as a type of shut down line?

Line 4

Kilger-Stajan-Ondrus

– Poor Matt Stajan. I really like the guy so sticking him on the 4th line was tough but Kilger and Ondrus proved towards the end of the year that they can be useful energy guys in the offensive zone.

So as you can the leafs lack a winger who can score 30 goals and really only have one guy on the foward lines who can actually score 30. They do however have a bunch of guys who can score 10 to 20. The one guy they really need to step up and score a few more goals in Alex Steen. Its a tough task to ask such a young player but Steen is capable of scoring 25 goals this season if he gets some sugar time on the PP.

Now on the defense which has easily gone from weakness to strength over the last month.

McCabe-Kaberle

– As much as I hate the fact that the leafs resigned McCabe to such a rediculous contract he is a good PP QB. McCabe however cannot do anything without his defensive partner Kaberle who not only covers up McCabes mistakes in the defensive zone but makes him a much better offensive player as well. Kaberle is guy who makes the defense tick and I wouldnt wanna know what this team would be like without him on it.

Kubina-Colaiacovo

– Pavel Kubina is a legit #2 defenseman and I would put him with his buddy Kaberle if McCabes chemistry with Kaberle wasnt so great. Colt 45 aka Colaiacovo impressed me with his hits and solid offensive zone play during his short stint last year but he still needs to improve his defensive zone coverage. Putting him with a veteran like Kubina could help that plus they would both be able to build enough chemistry together to make a successful #2 PP pairing.

Gill-White

– Ian White impressed many with his skating and maturity last year so he has to make this defense again. These two defenseman are polar opposites of each other with Gill being the big, bruising, stay at home guy while White is the swift skating rushing guy. They should both be able to feed off each other strengths and produce a solid third pairing.

Overall, this is the best defense Toronto has had over the last decade. Are they a little overpaid? Yes they are but by adding Kubina and Gill the leafs got themselves two guys who can play 20 minutes a game and will ease the burden of Kabs and McCabe who will also play better with more rest.

Now the goaltending…

#1 Andrew Raycroft

#2 Jean-Sebastien Aubin

Raycroft had a tough year in Boston and has been written off by many as the next Jim Carey. Raycroft though has the pedigree of winning. He won best goalie honours in the OHL, was a great goalie for Providence in the AHL, and he did win the Calder. Raycroft just had a bad year, he did have some nagging injuries but when its all said and done I just think he got caught up in mind games with himself. Raycroft just needs his confidence back and a change of scenery behind a strong defense should help that. Expect Raycroft to play around 60 games with Aubin getting the other 20 based on his superb play towards the end of last year.

So this is the team the Toronto Maple Leafs will most likely ice at the beginning of the season. The leafs may not be the goal scoring force they once were but by adding Peca to a already improving defensive minded foward core I think this team will be much more responsible in its own zone and will be difficult to play against with the up tempo style Maurice is going to use.

So why do I think the Toronto Maple Leafs will make the playoffs this year? Simply put the Eastern Conference gets extremely muddy in the last 3 playoff positions and if the leafs skate hard and play defense the way they can then there is no reason why they cant beat out the the traditional playoff bottom feeders in the East.


36 Responses to Why the Toronto Maple Leafs WILL make the playoffs.

  1. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    I like the lines, especially the Antropov – Peca -Ponikarovsky line, and the Gill – White Pairing. I think special teams will be very important as well.

    PK

    Peca – Steen

    Kabby – Kubina

    Antropov – Poni

    Gill – Colaiacovo

    This keeps Sundin and McCabe of the PK, so they can play more on the PP and 5 on 5 (Sundin is a great penalty killer, but I think the leafs will need his scoring touch this season.)

    PP

    Wellwood – Sundin – Tucker

    McCabe – Kaberle

    O’neill – Steen – Poni

    Kubina – White

    Wellwood and tucker are good low in the Zone, and Sundin serves as a great set up man like last season (on he deadly Allison, Tucker, Sundin PP unit), White and Kubina have a left and right handed shot, repectively, which is good for positional purposes. It also Keeps Peco out of the PP so he can play more 5 on 5 and PK, and use his two way ability.

  2. leaf_20 says:

    you kno i agree with you but i gotta say one thing… peca will be on the second line hes an amazing center and he will play on the second line and his wingers… tucker and kilger this is going to be THE most hated line in the nhl because not only does it have three of the leagues best grinders but last year tucker scored 25+ goals and peca can put those numbers up and kilger was also putting up some alright numbers last year this is going to be the worst line to play against in the nhl. that being said pohl is going to be on the third line, with well wood and stajan. exoect o’niell to play along side sundin. him and sundin ripped and teared last year when they played with each other. sure o’niell is coming off a bad year but… he had a tough year, with being traded and the passing of his brother the lines should look like this

    Steen-Sundin-Oniell

    Tucker-Peca-Kilger

    Poni- stajan- Antropov

    Ondrus-wellwood-pohl

    (the chocking line is the second line but how can you pass up a hard nose hitting line like that)

    McCabe-Kaberle

    Kubina-Coliacovo

    Gill-White

    ( i wouldnt mind seeing gill and belak with thos to guys you could take out two charas and i wouldnt mind white and coliacovo being switch white has shown a good offensive side to him and coliacovo can hit WELL)

    #1-?????

    #2-?????

    (the goalie situation as stands is that the goalies will fight for the position but im about 85% sure raycroft will get the starting job and aubin will be the back up. but they will have to trade telqvuist because they have 3 one way goalies)

  3. odie says:

    i agree but have a few slight changes and opinions here….first off a statement…people have been hammering the leafs for overpaying the dmen…IM GLAD they did cuz if they didnt we’d have no mccabe no gill no kubins and no kabby…you have to offer a better contract then other teams to get them, good for fergie for realizing the dmen needed no limits in spending….offense? or lack there of doesnt bother me…our team is very defensive this year and adding offense in exchange for defense makes no sense….i also dont agree with the raask for raycroft trade..a 1st round pick would of been alot better to give up…i also think raycroft will falter and the aubin we saw last year will pull a miller and be an amazing goalie for us..heres ut i expect in goals from our forwards

    sundin-40…not making the playoffs will give him jump trust me

    steen- 25…hes too defensive to be a bombshell 30 scorer

    pohl- 20…big year from pohl..TRUST me on this please

    tucker- 30…he’ll be full of passion this year

    wellwood-15..hes more of a set up man

    oneal- 20…i dont think he’ll hit 30 but he’ll contribute for sure

    poni- 30…he needs to be with sundin all year to get this

    peca- 20…hometown boy with the leafs..i think he’ll get lindross numbers without the injuries

    antropov- 15…he’ll be injured all year

    kilger-20…amazing for us last year..best player year round for sure…he’ll do very well this year

    stajan-20..i think maurice is the guy who will give stajan the time he needs to do well

    ondrus-10…hes an amazing force..i love this guy…great energy player and he’ll hammer out 98 domi numbers

  4. -TML- says:

    GO LEAFS GO GO LEAFS GO !!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. leafhater says:

    lEAF FANS IS THE REASON I HATE THE LEAFS,THEY TALK LIKE THEY ACTUALLY KNOW THE GAME BUT IN REALITY THEY HAVE NO CLUE WHAT IS GOING ON.LOOSERS

  6. -TML- says:

    YOUR A FAGGOT, GET OUT OF HERE! YOU’RE A HATER! YOUR JUST MAD CUZ WE HAVE ALL OF THE ATTENTION!

  7. Francis10 says:

    Isn’t that how it works, the losers always hate the most popular people

    I agree with you tho (i’m a huge Leafs fan) The fans are that worst part of the leafs.

    Some of the fans on here are hockey smart. you can tell just by looking at some of the lines they make…but there are only a few

  8. Wisey says:

    Yes, odie is a little off with Poni getting 30 goals and Pohl 20, but most of the rest of it is fairly accurate. Hate to tell ya mate, you’re the one that doesn’t know what you’re talking about.

  9. leafhater says:

    Said a real leaf jerk

  10. leafhater says:

    remember this trade Alyn maculey,Brad boyes, and a first round pick for Owen my knee hurts nolon.

    Sulivan gone for a puck

    Jason Smith for a stick

    AND NOW TURKO RASK AND A DRAFT PICK FOR RAYCROFT excuse me while i go puke leaf fan.

  11. JJ-Dynomite says:

    wow leafhater, honesly…if you dont want too listen too what the leafs fans are saying, then honestly dont come in here and read the articles! i go too the habs section and i dont agree with what i see, but i dont just go on their as “HABS….”and it looks like someone just spit on the page”” so, please keep that sort of comments too yourself, and even after the publisher of this fine, fine article asked too keep this civil. Also as someone who reads a LOT of message boards. It IS usually other team fans that start with getting the leaf fans all rilled up. Like this one for instance, you came in for no reason and freaked out. did someone come out and say “hey man! this is so cool, like the habs suck ass, but this is cool”…and remember Da Derp Dee Derp Da Teetley Derpee Derpee Dumb. Rated PG-13.

  12. Alozo07 says:

    Yes the leafs will make the playoffs, theyr division wont be as strong as it was yester year. Now that quinn is gone maurice will let the leafs young guns do what quinn called dumb moves for the shoot out. The leafs need some of that, it was brutal to watch them on shoot outs with usually nobody from the leafs scoring. I think your lines are ok too. I definetly think JFJ should trade tellqvist for sum1 who can find the net.

  13. Alozo07 says:

    u spelt losers wrong idiot, and u talk about us *sigh*

  14. Alozo07 says:

    We still have justin poggee he is the better prospect goalie anyways, and hes not fighting in the army ether like tukkaa (who i liked)

  15. phat_cat says:

    I agree with everything except the oneil on the powerplay…..i think he should play the powerplay but under maurice i think he will play the point on the pp.. Thats where Maurice played him in carolina and Oneil had success there! So I would toss him back on the point instead of white and give kilger a shot on the pp

  16. Rufusy says:

    leafs fans are like every other type of fans in canada its just that there are so many of them your going to have more numbers and more extreme leaf fan idiots that know nothing, take a stats course and youll learn more. this one guy on mojo was like berg and a 4th rounder for iggy, now that was funny

  17. Farva says:

    You are a real piece of work/garbage/shit. You come on here, a LEAFS post, and talk smack about us fans for supporting our team. You are a moron. Stay in the Habs forum. Nobody wants you here. People like you are starting to piss me off. The integrity of this site wavers every time a retard like you blurts out a thought.

    Sorry to be harsh..but seriously, give it a rest.

  18. Tweek says:

    totally agree with you about the fans thing

  19. leafhater says:

    I will remember

  20. DJTOKid says:

    Whos gonna be better Toronto or Vancouver?

  21. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    I always worry about Kilger on the PP, He couldn’t have done it with quinn’s control style pp, but maurice is a different story.

  22. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    you obviously have no intenton in life other than bashing the leafs, whom you naturally hate, so every time the leafs or the fans do the tiniest thing wrong you blow up like a hot air ballon. Go home to ottawa leafhater. There are more fans like you there.

  23. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    It was just Rask for Raycroft, and It was Mcauley and a third rounder for nolan, that third rounder ended up being boyes, but its unlikely that the leafs would have drafted him with that pick.

    show the trades right

  24. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    AMEN!!!!

  25. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    fans are the same everywhre else TRUST ME!

  26. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    Luongo, no Bert in vancouver, I think vancouver is a better team, but the northwest division is murder, so the leafs will have a better record.

    The northeast is dumbing down. The sabre’s will likely take the division, but Ottawa, the habs, and the Bruins, won’t do as well.

  27. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    quotes from leafhater:

    “ALL I NEED FROM THE HABS IS TO KICK THE LEAFS ASS.”

    “JFJ WILL BE FIRED BEFORE CHRISTMAS”

    “lEAF FANS IS THE REASON I HATE THE LEAFS,THEY TALK LIKE THEY ACTUALLY KNOW THE GAME BUT IN REALITY THEY HAVE NO CLUE WHAT IS GOING ON.LOOSERS”

    good to see we have someone intellignt here… (sarcastic)

  28. the_word says:

    No Bertuzzi, they couldn’t get Carter, they’ve broken up their top two lines. This team is only be as good as Luongo can be amazing. Oh, and they lost Jovo, so I guess Luongo misses the playoffs again

  29. Scottman75 says:

    I have concerns about Luongo being as good in the West as in the East. Different style of hockey.

    It could go either way.

  30. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    nah, the sedins are only getting better, and Jovo spends half the season injured.

  31. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    the only major dfference in the style of hockey is that the west haz about 5 worthless teams, the east only has 2, Luoungo will do well in vancouver.

  32. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH boy

    Compared to last season:

    Sundin has to score 9 more goals

    Steen has to score 7 more goals

    Pohl has to score 17 more goals

    Tucker has to score 2 more goals than he’s ever done in his career.

    Wellwood has to score 4 more goals

    O’neill has to score 1 more goals

    Poni has to score 9 more goals

    Peca has to score 11 more goals

    Antropov has to score 3 more goals

    Kilger has to score 3 more goals

    Stajan has to score 5 more goals

    Ondrus has to score 10 more goals

    so you’re saying that ALL of those gus will play better than last season? Here’s a more realistic one

    Sundin – 30 –

    Steen – 20

    Pohl – 10

    Tucker – 20

    Wellwood – 10

    O’neill – 15

    Poni – 20

    Peca – 10

    Antropov – 15

    Kilger – 15

    Stajan – 10

    Ondrus – 5

    Thats what I predict, and Giving Ondrus 5 is being generous.

  33. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    you’re the one who’s looking like a jerk.

    you insult leaf fans, then call them jerks when they don’t like that, making you an idiot.

  34. the_word says:

    The eugenics project that is the Canucks second line is doomed to fail unless they have a third peice (like Carter, who was not only productive but gave the line some visible diversity). Jovo, isn’t dominant but surely will be missed, he did spend alot of time injured and Vancouver did miss the playoffs.

  35. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    Vancouver missed the playoffs with auld in net! Cooke can play with the Sedins, thats not a bad second line. What team wouldn’t miss Jovo. I think they’ll end up behing Calgary, and Colorado, but ahead of Edonton.

  36. habsfan2006 says:

    vancouver…luongo—raycroft not much competition

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