Expect new energy to carry Leafs in 2017-2018 season
In one year, the Toronto Maple Leafs went from last place to a playoff appearance in which they pushed the Washington Capitals, last year’s Presidents’ Trophy winners, to the brink of elimination. Led by one of the youngest rosters in the NHL, the Leafs look poised to become a serious contender in the league.
The Leafs have scored 19 goals in three games from Oct. 4 to Oct. 9, …and if these games are any indication, the team’s offensive fire power will continue to be their number one strength this season.
…and if these games are any indication, the team’s offensive fire power will continue to be their number one strength this season.
The net looks to be well protected by starting goalie Frederik Andersen, and the recent trade for Calvin Pickard from Las Vegas has added more depth in goal.
While the team’s offence has fans drooling, their defence remains the biggest question mark going into this season. The Leafs signed Swedish defenceman Andreas Borgman and Calle Rosén to help address the issue.
“The biggest thing is not even team defence. It’s what you do with the puck that puts you in bad spots. We’ve got to take care of the puck way better,” Leafs head coach Mike Babcock said in a game day interview with Maple Leaf Hotstove before facing off against Chicago.
The offence should be enough to carry them to the playoffs, but some people still question if their defence is strong enough for the Leafs to be legitimate contenders for the cup.
Players to watch
The surprise acquisition of free agent Patrick Marleau gives the Leafs more depth, as well as a much-needed veteran presence to help influence the youngsters’ development. After such stellar rookie campaigns, all eyes will be on the sophomores this year, especially the big three: Matthews, Marner, and Nylander.
After such stellar rookie campaigns, all eyes will be on the sophomores this year, especially the big three: Matthews, Marner, and Nylander.
The expectation is that the Leafs will make the playoffs and sit close to the top of the Atlantic Division. We are all expecting fast-paced and exciting hockey from the boys, and after three games, the Leafs are clearly delivering.
Photo courtesy of Zanda