Toronto Maple Leafs: Atlantic Division Preview and Predictions

Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs fans on a point blank scoring attempt against Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins in Game Six of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on April 21, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs fans on a point blank scoring attempt against Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins in Game Six of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on April 21, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
Feb 25, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) defends Toronto Maple Leafs   Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Toronto Maple Leafs

Last season, the Toronto Maple Leafs won their first division title since 1999-2000.  They’ve won in the North Division, they’ve won in the Northeast Divison, but they haven’t won an Atlantic Division title yet.  Can the Toronto Maple Leafs repeat a division title?

Key Offseason Acquisitions:

Michael Bunting LW (Signed from Phoenix)

Nick Ritchie LW (Signed from Boston)

David Kämpf C (Signed from Chicago)

Petr Mrázek G (Signed from Carolina)

Biggest Offseason Losses:

Zach Hyman LW (Signed with Edmonton)

Nick Foligno LW (Signed with Boston)

Joe Thornton LW (Signed with Florida)

Frederik Andersen G (Signed with Carolina)

Roster Breakdown:

Losing Zach Hyman is a blow to the heart of Leafs Nation.  Toronto Maple Leafs fans loved everything Zach Hyman brought to the team.  He was a key asset at only $2.25 million AAV, but in a world were cap is king, $5.5 million AAV is too much for the Toronto Maple Leafs to spend on Zach Hyman.

When comparing what the Toronto Maple Leafs lost and what they gained, you can’t really include Nick Foligno in the process.  He was a rental player and the intention was never to keep him around long term.

In my opinion, the Toronto Maple Leafs seem to have replaced Galchenyuk with Ritchie, Thornton with Kämpf and Andersen with Mrázek.  The Maple Leafs win all of those moves.  Even Foligno for Ritchie I would consider a win for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Now, losing Hyman for Bunting is a tough one.  In a way, Zach Hyman was the Wendel Clark or the Darcy Tucker of his era with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’s a hard-nosed gritty guy who could score that fans loved.

I feel that once Bunting has a chance to show what he can do in Toronto, Maple Leafs are going to love him like they loved Zach Hyman.  Bunting is known as a pest who can score and gets compared to Brad Marchand.  Last season, Hyman had 15 goals in 43 games and Bunting had 10 goals in 21 games, so imagining Bunting achieves a similar scoring pace to Hyman isn’t ridiculous.

I think the biggest concerns for the Toronto Maple Leafs to address during the offseason were to solidify their goaltending, upgrade their third line defensively and add more secondary scoring.  I think they’ve done all those things to some degree.

Petr Mrázek had a way better season than Freddie Andersen last season, but it will be interesting to see how they both do after switching teams.  Many fans had grown attached to Andersen, but with the emergence of Jack Campbell and Petr Mrázek as his tandem partner, the Toronto Maple Leafs should have some stellar goaltending.

Adding David Kämpf gives them a better shutdown centre for their third line and allows them to move Alex Kerfoot to the wing.  I personally believe Bunting and Ritchie will score more goals than Hyman and Galchenyuk/Foligno would have. If Ondřej Kaše can get healthy, he should help with secondary scoring as well.

Did the Toronto Maple Leafs get better this offseason?  I will boldly say, “yes.”

Now here’s a prediction of the Atlantic Division standings: