The Toronto Maple Leafs have lost in the playoffs, or failed to even make them, for 55 straight years.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are an embarrassment. There is no way around the fact that despite being the NHL’s oldest and richest franchise, they have not won a single championship since the league expanded beyond six teams.
Now I may never have met a math class that I couldn’t sneak a novel into, but the odds of winning by accident are probably better than trying and failing 55 straight times.
Consider also that they didn’t just fail to win a Stanley Cup, they also never had a player lead the league in scoring or win a major award – no Leafs player has won the Norris, the Hart or the Vezina in this time.
As bad as the Leafs were before Brendan Shanahan got here, what has happened since has been what myself and thousands of other fans have always wanted: bottom out completely, get a great player, then build a contender through the draft.
The ride hasn’t always been smooth, but Shanahan, Kyle Dubas, and Mark Hunter accomplished the first part of this process perfectly – they bottomed out and drafted Auston Matthews in their first intentionally bad season. You can ask Buffalo, Arizona or Ottawa how often this actually works out. The Leafs got very lucky because they were able to rebuild way faster than they should have been able to, by bringing in Mitch Marner and Matthews back-to-back.
I really do think the expectations on this team have been unfair. As much as it did suck to watch them lose five straight playoff series, at least the first three should be written off as them being underdogs gaining much needed experience. It is only retroactively that those seasons are seen as failures.
The last two were definitionally failures, but at least one of them was just a random five game series played in August, and it really shouldn’t count against them anyways.
If you want to be mad, be mad, far be it for me to tell you how to feel. But I am optimistic that this team will finally break through, so I present to you the following ten reasons why I think the time is nigh.
Nigh, I say……