Toronto Maple Leafs: Top Stories Heading into Playoffs

Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)
Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO, ON – JANUARY 13: Ben Chiarot #8 of the Montreal Canadiens fights Wayne Simmonds #24 of the Toronto Maple Leafs  (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Team Toughness

During the Mike Babcock era, the Toronto Maple Leafs number one criticism from the fans, media and even Babcock himself, was their lack of team toughness. While I think this has always been a little more overblown and given more importance than it needed, Maple Leafs have addressed this perceived issue and have added players with a little more grit through free agency and trades.

The additions of Bogosian, Simmonds and Foligno gives the Toronto Maple Leafs not just added toughness, but along with a few other veteran additions – Joe Thornton, Jason Spezza, Riley Nash, TJ Brodie – they have added an elevated work ethic for the rest of the team to follow.

The willingness to bring their game to another level has been the missing ingredient in years past, and while they shouldn’t need to fight to be successful in the playoffs, they need to have fight. If these additions can push the core to another level, through ramping up intensity, toughness and energy and keeping it consistent, the Toronto Maple Leafs can cruise through the Canadian division and have an incredible opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup.


Goaltending is a position that garners a ton of attention in most NHL markets, but for the   Leafs it has been the most polarizing position in the playoffs. Frederik Andersen has played well for the Toronto Maple Leafs over the last four playoffs and when observing his numbers seems to have gotten better each year.

Unfortunately, every year Andersen has been outplayed by the opposition’s goalie, and his opportunity to redeem himself may have slipped away.

Jack Campbell has been announced as the starting goaltender for the Maple Leafs in game one. Campbell has been brilliant all year, with a 17-3-2 record, 2.15 GAA and .921 save % ( via ) he may have been considered in the Vezina conversation had he played more games.

However, game 1 will be Campbell’s first ever playoff start and no one knows exactly what to expect. What is also interesting is how short of a leash Keefe might have on Campbell. If he loses two games will Keefe go to Andersen? If he has one bad game will Andersen start the next game? Or will Keefe ride Campbell as their number one guy regardless? I believe Campbell will get every opportunity to prove himself and find success in the playoffs, but if the Maple Leafs go down 2-0 to Montreal, I would be shocked if Andersen wasn’t starting game 3.

There have been several examples in recent years of teams using two goaltenders to win the Stanley Cup, so having to switch goaltenders in the playoffs does not necessarily mean that the Maple Leafs will be doomed. It wouldn’t be encouraging of course, but don’t be too discouraged or surprised if the Toronto Maple Leafs do have to use both Campbell and Andersen to get to the promised land.

Next. All the Ways In Which the Leafs are a Better Team than the Habs. dark

What we know for sure is, whether both goalies are used or only Campbell, or Campbell, Andersen and David Rittich, the stories will run rampant throughout the entirety of the Maple Leafs post season run.