The Toronto Maple Leafs could be on the verge of being the best team of all time.
Now, if you say such a thing and also happen to write on a Toronto Maple Leafs fan site, people are going to think you’re biased. And crazy.
Biased and crazy. They might even doubt your sobriety.
But I can assure you that I am fully sobre, sane, and being objective.
The Toronto Maple Leafs could have the best team ever.
Not just in the salary cap era – ever.
Here is how:
Toronto Maple Leafs the Best Team Ever?
The current Leafs roster is fantastic.
Despite the worst year of their star goalie’s career, despite getting almost nothing out of the back-up position, despite not dressing their best lineup a single time, despite changing coaches and playing nine games missing their two best defenseman, the Leafs still made the playoffs.
They finished 12th overall, but 8th overall since the day they hired Keefe.
They outperformed their terrible goaltending, and a comparison of team stats puts them at the top of the league with Tampa, Vegas and Boston (quite a bit better than Boston, the aging team that was propped up by an insane run of goaltending).
The results were not great for the Leafs, but the numbers say they will almost certainly be a top team when play resumes, and that they should enter next season as the favorite to win the Stanley Cup.
But despite already having a crazy roster that features more elite players than any other team, and arguably the league’s second best player, the best group of centres and the deepest collection of wingers, the Leafs might get even better.
And not just by adding potential superstars Rasmus Sandin and Nick Robertson to the roster on league minimum entry-level deals.
No, the Toronto Maple Leafs could become the best team ever by adding those two players and winning the NHL Entry Draft lottery.
First, tonight’s lottery would have to be won by one of the place holders for teams that might be eliminated in the play-in round.
Second, the Leafs would have to lose to the Blue Jackets and become the team that won the lottery.
Third, they’d have to draft Alexis Lafreniere.
Lafreniere figures to challange Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews for the title of Best Player in the World in the upcoming seasons, so adding him (and Sandin, and Robertson) to the Leafs next year would make them a ridiculous team.
You’d be adding an Auston Matthews-level player to the lineup for the league minimum. ‘
The team already challenging for the Stanley Cup would add a player who figures to be an elite NHL player in the first game of his career.
It’s a long shot (and I’d rather just win the Cup this year) but it is a possibility.