Toronto Maple Leafs: Predictions for the Upcoming Year

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 28: Auston Matthews
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 28: Auston Matthews /

The Toronto Maple Leafs are going into the most exciting season since (at least) 2003/2004.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will be entering the season with high expectations for the first time in years.  The team is stocked with young, exciting players, and is only getting better.

To spice up the final weeks of summer, I’ve decided to make some predictions for the future.

Who will be the Toronto Maple Leafs next captain?

Starting off with an easy one. Auston “The King” Matthews (See his new tattoo) will become the next Captain of the Maple Leafs weeks before the 2018/19 season. In one more season, Matthews will have dominated in the league for two full seasons and the team will be ready to make a legitimate Stanley Cup run.

Lou’s Future?:

Lamoriello will sign a two year extension this spring/summer, but will get bumped more upstairs after the first year of his two year extension and Kyle Dubas will become GM.  Leaving Mark Hunter to concentrate on what he does best. [Editors Note: Hope you’re wrong on this one. I don’t think I can take another two years of Lamoriello].

When will Liljegren become a full-time NHLer?:

2018/19.  He may play some games this season if injuries occur but he will be expected to dominate in the AHL this season and earn his way onto the team in training camp next season.

This however,  doesn’t take into account the fact that the Leafs have a history of playing rookies in prominent spots, and have a weak blue line.  There is always the chance that Liljegren becomes this year’s Werenski.  I still say it will be next year before we see him full-time in the NHL, but it’s not impossible he surprises everyone and makes it this year.

Total team points this season?

I predict they will have a slight improvement in OT and the shootout resulting in a solid 99 point season placing them in the top three in the Atlantic division.

What will happen to JVR?

Whatever happens, he will not be traded on trade deadline day. He is either traded at training camp or before the all star break, or he will stick with the team for the rest of the season and sign elsewhere for five-seven years for $5.8M AAV.  Probably Carolina. I’m going to say he gets traded (plus an asset) before the first regular season game for a young defenseman that has some NHL experience that can slide into their lineup immediately.  Someone like Noah Hanifin, perhaps?

Who will be the breakout player for the Maple Leafs this season?

Kasperi Kapanen.  I see Kapanen as having almost the equivalent potential as William Nylander. His only downside is he is better at playing that 4th liner role than some others on the team.  But with his speed and defensive abilities, the Leafs won’t be able to keep him off the team for long, even if he can be sent tot he Marlies easier than some other players, Kasperi is primed for a breakout.

I am predict big things for Morgan Rielly this season.

How will we go another season without Joe Bowen doing the TV broadcast?:

I don’t know.  Pause live TV until the radio catches up? He is so much fun to listen to. I know he wants to be back on TV and so should you.  There is good reason why replays of Leafs highlights in advertisements use Joe Bowen’s commentary.  He just makes it so much more exciting.  Holy Mackinaw!

Playoff game wins?:

Six. Winning a playoff series will be a coup for the Leafs, but also a slight disappointment.  Nevertheless, it’ll show great progress and I would be okay with a second round exit this season.

More from Editor In Leaf

I’m trying to keep expectations realistic.

Opening day roster?

Marleau Matthews Nylander

Komarov Kadri Brown

Hyman Bozak Marner

Martin Moore Kapanen

Rielly Hainsey

Gardiner Zaitsev

Marincin Polak

Next: Matthews and Marner to Become Best Duo in NHL

That’s it for my predictions.  Please feel free to share your own. Thanks for reading.