Where Do the Toronto Maple Leafs Stand Among Cup Contenders?

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 17: A general view of Toronto Maple Leafs logo prior to an NHL game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Scotiabank Arena on February 17, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Penguins 4-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 17: A general view of Toronto Maple Leafs logo prior to an NHL game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Scotiabank Arena on February 17, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Penguins 4-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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Mar 27, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34) and forward Mitchell Marner (16) and forward William Nylander (88) and defenseman Morgan Rielly (44) celebrate a goal by forward John Tavares (91) during the second period against the Florida Panthers at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 27, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34)  . Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

3. Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs have the offensive depth to go far in the playoffs.

The Maple Leafs are loaded on offense led by the dynamic duo of Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, and Michael Bunting right next to them as far as offensive skills go.

Bunting also has a pest side to him, drawing a ton of penalties and annoying the opposition when he can. He’s a late bloomer, but the Leafs should be happy that he’s found his game.

On top of this, John Tavares and William Nylander are no joke on offense, either. The difference this season is that the big four focus on defense as well as offense. Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander have grown to become reliable two-way forwards and can be trusted in every area of the ice in high pressure situations.

The Toronto Maple Leafs also have the guys you need to win on their bottom six. Ilya Mikheyev, Alex Kerfoot, Pierre Engvall, David Kampf, Colin Blackwell, and Ondrej Kase give the Leafs an incredible amount of depth.

The Leafs defense – long thought to be a weakness – is now a team strength with the breakout seasons of Timothy Liljegren and Rasmus Sandin, along with the acquisition of Ilya Lyubushkin and Mark Giordano.

All told, the Leafs have eight quality NHL defenseman on the roster.

In goal,  Jack Campbell HAS to remain healthy for the playoffs as he is really the only guy who has a chance to match Andrei Vasilevskiy.  If he becomes injured, then the Toronto Maple Leafs chances of making a run would end prematurely, but you can pretty much say this about any team.

The Toronto Maple Leafs can play playoff hockey with a high powered offense, reliable defense and goaltending. They have displayed the ability to play this style against the Washington Capitals, where they were more than happy to match the Capital’s physicality, which, to me, is a major change from season’s past.

While they look like they will make a run, they have the hardest run to the Conference finals, with the Lightning and Florida Panthers likely being their first and second round matchup. Kyle Dubas has displayed that he can create a Stanley Cup contender with limited cap space, and perhaps this is the year that the  Leafs end their drought.