Toronto Maple Leafs: Ranking the Last Decade of 1st Round Exits

Vesa Toskala, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Vesa Toskala, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs, Auston Matthews
MONTREAL, QC – MAY 24: Joel Edmundson #44 of the Montreal Canadiens checks Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs . (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

The 2020-2021 Toronto Maple Leafs 

The ongoing pandemic results in a North division for all of the Canadian teams and reinfuses the hopes of Leaf fans far and wide, as Boston and Tampa Bay are no longer in the immediate mix.

Toronto finishes in 1st-place and a first-round meeting with the 24-21-11 Montreal Canadiens is set. Finally the Leafs have a relatively easy playoff path and get to pound a clearly inferior Habs squad. Right?

After going up three-games to one Toronto, inexplicably, loses the next three and manages to reach a whole other level of embarrassment. Leafs are led by Nylander (five goals and eight points). Matthews finishes one and five and Marner zero and four.

RANKING: Luca Cereda (24)

In terms of flat-out disappointment I think this loss to Montreal takes the cake. Those Boston defeats were brutal (and particularly frustrating because they were to the same team) but Toronto was the underdog in every one of those series and the last two Boston matchups should have been post-first round in a classic playoff format. This loss to Montreal has it all in terms of Leafs disappointments.

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They lose to the inferior opponent, blow a 3-1 series lead and watch multiple draft picks fly out of Kyle Dubas’ pocket. Luca Cereda, a head-scratching 1st-rounder out of the Swiss A-League with zero career NHL games under his belt is appropriate.