Toronto Maple Leafs: Atlantic Division Power Rankings November

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 17: Brandon Carlo #25 of the Boston Bruins chases after Kasperi Kapanen #24 of the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on April 17, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Bruins defeated the Maple Leafs 6-4. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 17: Brandon Carlo #25 of the Boston Bruins chases after Kasperi Kapanen #24 of the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on April 17, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Bruins defeated the Maple Leafs 6-4. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
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TORONTO, ON – FEBRUARY 25: Jake Muzzin #8 and Travis Dermott #23 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skate against Jack Eichel #9 of the Buffalo Sabres during the second period at the Scotiabank Arena on February 25, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

Buffalo Sabres

Wilbert: The Buffalo Sabres, much like last year, started the season red hot. And again, much like last year, when people were close to being convinced it was legit this time, they dropped the ball.

They lost a key player in Dahlin, who’s out indefinitely with a concussion along with Okposo, who is out due to his 4th concussion in 3 years.

Sitting third in the Atlantic, holding a playoff position, it’s not an accomplishment by Buffalo. It’s mere luck the teams from the Atlantic all post mediocre results. With 31 points and a record of 13-11-5 they wouldn’t be holding a playoff spot in any other division, not even a wildcard spot.

Like Boston, the Buffalo Sabres count on their top line, lead by Jack Eichel, to generate their offense.

However, aside from Skinner, they lack secondary scoring depth. On nights the Eichel line doesn’t produce, the Sabres lose.

Alex, with the team depending heavily on the talent of Eichel, do you think Eichel can finally lead his Sabres to the playoffs?

Alex: “I don’t think so. Not this season anyways. But they’re almost there.

The Buffalo Sabres have perhaps the longest-lasting rebuild in the NHL right now. They’ve missed the playoffs for eight seasons in a row, and despite lots of high draft picks, they haven’t been able to turn those into on-ice results.

The way I see it, the top three in the Atlantic will be a variation of the Bruins, Lightning, and  Toronto Maple Leafs by season’s end. And outside of those three, I think the Panthers have the most legitimate shot at making the show this year.

Having said that, Jack Eichel is on another level this year. Rasmus Dahlin has taken a step forward. And having Victor Olofsson lighting the lamp the way he has been has done wonders for them. In the end, it’s only a matter of time before he gets there.”