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Toronto Maple Leafs: 2015-16 Season Projection

2014-2015 Overall Record: 30-44-8 (68 Points) 15th in the Eastern Conference

***Did Not Make the NHL Playoffs***

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS TEAM LEADERS (2)

Toronto Maple Leafs: 2014-2015 Team Leaders

Notable Offseason Losses:

F Phil Kessel (New Team: Pittsburgh Penguins)

D Andrew MacWilliam (New Team: Winnipeg Jets)

F Zach Sill (New Team: Washington Capitals)

Notable Offseason Acquisitions:

D Matt Hunwick (Former Team: New York Rangers)

F Mark Arcobello (Former Team: Arizona Coyotes)

F P.A. Parenteau (Former Team: Montreal Canadiens)

F Daniel Winnik (Former Team: Pittsburgh Penguins)

F Shawn Matthias (Former Team: Vancouver Canucks)

F Taylor Beck (Former Team: Nashville Predators)

Main Team Stats Breakdown:

GFA (Goals For Average): 2.48 (NHL Ranking: 24th)

GAA (Goals Against Average): 3.09 (NHL Ranking: 26th)

SV% (Save Percentage): .906 (NHL Ranking: 25th)

The Toronto Maple Leafs are the top financially grossing NHL team, as well as one of the current worst on the ice. The Maple Leafs have a lot to do before earning the trust of their fans once again while getting back to basics and playing in a competitive fashion. Last season, the Leafs were greatly displaced on the ice on a consistent basis. The bashing from the fan base further culminated in nothing short of calamity for a cause that was for the most part, uninspiring. Contrary to the popular notion, Phil Kessel leaving is a blessing in disguise. The off ice locker room antics and horrible reviews continued to leave this team a punching bag for the rest of the league.

Mike BabcockNot all is bad for the Maple Leafs heading into this season. Gaining the expertise of head coach Mike Babcock and general manager Lou Lamoriello should go a long way for the club in the future. Babcock will provide a solid foundation for the club; a consistency that has been lost on Toronto for quite some time. Lamoriello should also shore up a lot of the bad decision making that has continued to plague the team. It is doubtful that Toronto will contend for a few years as there is a ton to figure out in the front office. Because of this, team chemistry is unlikely to be at the forefront for the next season or two.

What will be interesting to see, is what Babcock does in net. There’s speculation on both sides for whether James Reimer (.909 SV%; 3.23 GAA) will be the starter, or if they’ll give the bulk of the workload to Jonathan Bernier (.918 SV%; 2.78 GAA). Bernier may be the one to take it, especially after signing a new two-year deal this summer. Reimer on the other hand seems to be more of a fan favorite, but Babcock isn’t the type of coach to allow those on the outside to dictate what occurs from within. He’ll be the ultimate deciding voice when the season gets into full swing after he’s able to fully assess each netminder. Reimer will be facing unrestricted free agency, so he’ll be looking to stand on his head in hopes of a new deal, whether it’s still in Toronto or elsewhere.

Going into a further semantical analysis would be quite pointless. This is a team that has a long way to go. Though they may not be the ultimate bottom feeder, I project they’ll stay exactly where they finished upon the conclusion of last season. A jump up one spot may not be a surprise either, considering the leadership ability and accountability that Babcock instills. This is a positive, as Toronto does need leadership, and they need it bad.

2015-2016 Season Projection: 7th in the Atlantic Division

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