The Fate of the Toronto Maple Leafs Rests on 2 Wildcards

Nicholas Robertson #89 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
Nicholas Robertson #89 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a good team, no matter what.

When you have John Tavers – a surefire, 100% guaranteed futre hall of famer – as your second best centre then you are in good shape, which is the case for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

If Mitch Marner is arguably your fourth best forward, and T.J Brodie your third best defenseman (maybe even fourth if Holl turns out to be for real) then your lineup is absolutely insane.

A good way to understand how solid the Leafs actually are is to realize that even though they played 25% of their games under Sheldon Keefe without both their best defensemen, and finished 28th in 5v5 save percentage, they were still ninth overall once Keefe took over.

Teams that drastically outperform their 5v5 save percentage ranking will always be better than people think.  That should be called Tanner’s Law of Goaltending, because it’s indisputable.

Anyways, the Leafs will be good regardless, but two wildcards will dictate whether or not they are the dominant force we all hope they will be.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Wildcards

People say that, on the Leafs, only Auston Matthews has a better shot than Nick Roberston.  This means his shot is not only NHL quality, but among the best in the NHL.  Also, every other player in OHL history to score a goal per game while under 19 for the whole season has a 40 goal season in the NHL.

The Leafs don’t need Robertson to be a complete player because they are so deep.  They can use him in the right situations where his shot will be a weapon.  If he is successful, it’s probably cause he’s on a 30 goal pace *remember, its a short season.  If this is the case, the Leafs go from contender to dominant pretty fast.

Same thing with Mikko Lehtonen.  He is in his second season in the KHL and is averaging a point per game.  Artemi Panarin, a forward and one of the best players in the entire NHL, didn’t average a point per game in the KHL until his seventh season.

Now, this might not mean anything, but it’s certainly suggestive that Lehtonen can be an NHL star.  If this is the case, the Leafs again go from contender to dominant force.

The Leafs don’t need Lehtonen or Robertson to be stars this season, but if one or both of them even takes slight steps in that direction, then it’s a best-case-scenario and they are easily the NHL’s top team.

Next. 10 Prognostications for 2021. dark

Now, this is unlikely, but it isn’t impossible. If you’re excited about the Leafs this year, this should double, even triple that excitement.