Discussion in 'Toronto Maple Leafs' started by thewave, Jan 31, 2018.
Lets have at it! What do you guys and gals think?
The way we have played so far this season? Absolutely not. That being said there is obviously another gear to this forward group that we haven't seen since October. If they start finding that again we could make a good push but ultimately I don't think we are better then the Tampa's and Nashvilles of the league just yet.
There are contenders (legitimate) and pretenders (Cinderella teams that make the playoffs), that believe anything can happen.
But they are moving in the right direction anyways at this point.. If they had a big minute munching #1Dman that can control the game and play 28-30 minutes a night they would move from pretender to legitimate contender status for me. I think management understands this and awaiting for the right opportunity to arise to secure such a player.
Babcock was right. Sorry Hunter.
Contenders? Not today. Ask again on the first day of the playoffs.
Silly poll, I don't think anyone thinks they are today.
I voted absolutely not based on my not believing that Lou will spend enough assets to buy the level of players it will take to make us contenders.
I think the Leafs, and Babcock are quite happy with Marner
That would be too late.
Decisions have to be made now, at least before the trade deadline.
That's why you have the buy option in the poll. If you don't feel we are as of today but feel we can buy and be in reach then you can select that. The poll is also open so you can change in the future.
Werenski over Marner is not the difference between the Leafs being a contender or not, and it's way to early to see how this plays out.
Marner is a stud.
Now if it was Seth Jones, that would be a different story.
The road to the cup would involve several matchups where the Leafs are disfavored, but I wouldn't say the Leafs have less than a 25% chance to win a 7 game series against any team in the league.
Overall, Leafs have maybe a 5% chance to win the cup this year. Could go up or down a few percent based on the deadline.
Anything can happen in the Playoffs.
I don't know if many could consider us "legitimate contenders", where it would be considered a failure if they didn't make it to the Final 4 or something, but I also don't think we can be looked at as some underdog team without a hope - We're simply more of an unknown than most other teams, because our superstars haven't fully developed yet. Their potential to perform immediately shouldn't be over-looked, or else sleeping teams can get burned.
I guess I'm a 'Maybe'...
Right now? No.
However, if the Leafs can play better down the stretch and with some deadline moves it’s very possible.
And so they should be.
It doesn't change the fact that Babcock would have preferred to have Werenski. Whining about the past is useless. It was impossible to know Matthews would get drafted the next year.
I believe there are 3 reasons why we are absolutely NOT currently at contender status. They are as follows.
1) We need a two way/defensive RHD who can log big minutes against another playoff teams best. Without this, we cannot expect to go further than round two.
2) A legit #3 center who can play playoff style hockey ie win faceoffs, be defensively responsible and pot the odd dirty goal.
3) Our core players simply do not have the experience needed to win. I cannot stress this enough! Some young players can and have. I do not believe ours can, YET. The sophomore slump seems to be hitting Marner/Nylander hard. Matthews appears tired/lethargic, as he did last season, as the season nears its end. Maybe our younger players need a better workout/diet plan? Maybe they just need a few more years to get that "man" strength. I don't know, but at present, they seem unprepared for a long playoff haul.
Dont get me wrong, I love our core and I believe they will break the curse eventually. Just won't be this year.
I voted 'No absolutely not.' However, once a team is in the playoffs, anything can happen!
They are darkhorse contenders. i.e. if a perfect storm happens and they peak around the playoffs, they can win. It's more of a fantastical scenario but it's happened before by my estimations (several times) and it will happen again. For that to happen, several players are all going to need to take massive steps and emerge over half a season.
The cup is wide open most years, there's a lot of parity in today's NHL. There are some legitimate contenders (Nash, Tampa, and probably Pitts based on pedigree are your favorites) but it's typically not a given one of those teams will win it.
Everyone has a chance. Matthews and Andersen could go insane and boom there is your cup.
I wouldn't expect to win but they certainly have a chance.
I also wouldn't be surprised to see them lose in 1 round. Boston or Tampa are top 3 records in the league currently and one would be the 1st round opponent.
I don't think they're a contender.
I don't think they'll sell.
I do think they'll make a small pickup similar to last year.
I don't think that will make them a contender.
I do think they could win a round depending on the matchup.
That's how I vote.
They are not a contender but that doesn't mean we should sell off assets either. This team is good enough to win a playoff round and we need all the playoff experience we can get.
Time will tell.
The NHL is low on #1D depth.
The NHL has lots of small RWers.
I'm not worried about the Leafs scoring going forward.
I am worried about the ability to keep the puck out of our net.
Hunter pretended Marner would be a C, which isn't going to happen.
I wanted a D that draft.
So did Babcock.
Hunter picked his boy Marner.
We're an outside contender at the moment.
But there's also a decent chance that Babcock has intentionally not been maximizing his roster usage, in order to try and teach his young core some long term lessons at the expense of short term success. This encompasses all of a) tactics (i.e. an exaggerated emphasis on dump and chase hockey and forced abandonment of their elite rush game), b) roster usage (i.e. overusing worker bees like hyman, komo, polak and limiting the chances of the elite talent like Willy and Mitch), and c) roster selection (i.e. gritty vets like martin and polak over skilled rookies like Kapanen and Dermott).
If any of that is true, and not just wishful thinking, and Babcock starts shifting those factors more to short term success - and he's off to a good start with martin/polak in and kappy/dermott out, and komo on the 4th line) , IMO they'll look pretty close to a contender by the end of the season.
We're better than the Senators team that made the ECF last year. We're better than the Oilers team that went all the way to the SCF all those years back.
In the playoffs, most bets are off. The right circumstances, and this team could go in any number of directions. We'll see when we get there.
This group would need divine intervention to win 16 games though.
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