Toronto Maple Leafs Achieve Contender Status

Jan 13, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) skates with the puck against the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 13, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) skates with the puck against the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Toronto and NHL Media is long overdue in declaring the Toronto Maple Leafs Stanley Cup Contenders, so allow me:

The Toronto Maple Leafs are Stanley Cup Contenders.  I declare it!

In my opinion, the Leafs have the best player (Matthews) the best power play (indisputable) the most elite players, and the deepest roster.

To my mind, that makes them the best team in hockey (especially when Tampa is without Nikita Kucherov), and an obvious Cup Contender.  You just wouldn’t know it by watching the league’s coverage, where they appear to rank just slightly higher than Ottawa if I’m judging the vibe from TSN and Sportsnet correctly.

Is Montreal off to a fast start? Yes. Was it fueled by a preposterously weak schedule and unsustainably high goal scoring from Tyler Toffoli and Josh Anderson? Obviously, yes, but that doesn’t stop the talking heads from praising Bergevin and the Habs.

Kyle Dubas and the Leafs? Not so much.  They still have a lot to prove, don’tcha know? When the Leafs beat up on the Canucks, the Canucks are just off their game (they have Tyler Myers on the first pairing. They don’t have a game to get off of).  When the Canadiens do it? Total sign of being a contender.

Toronto Maple Leafs Are in First Place

As we approach the quarter point of the season, the Leafs are in first place in both their division and the NHL.  They have (by far) the NHL’s best power play, and they have the league’s most regulation wins.

After a slightly unlucky start at 5v5, a recent berzerko hotstreak has Matthews leading the NHL with 7 5v5 goals, and second with 10 5v5 points, just two back of Connor McDavid.  Obviously Matthews leads the league in total goals with 10.

Matthews has 10 goals in 11 games this year, including scoring in seven straight, and he is currently on a streak of two consecutive games with two goals.

Mitch Marner is also on fire, coming in third in the NHL with 20 points in 12 games.

Overall, the Toronto Maple Leafs are having an absolutely fantastic and fun start to the season. The insane thing is how much potential they have from guys who haven’t contributed yet.

Joe Thornton got off to an incredibly strong start before his injury, Nick Robertson played just two minutes before being injured, but he’s potentially a big upgrade for the team, as are Mikko Lehtonen (looked great on Saturday) and Rasmus Sandin who you haver to think is eventually going to play.

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The Leafs will take their new found contender status and put it on the line tonight against the Canucks for the third straight game.