Toronto Maple Leafs Could Easily Miss the Playoffs This Year

May 4, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CANADA; A shot by Florida Panthers defenseman Gustav Forsling (not pictured) scores on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov (35) during the second period of game two of the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
May 4, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CANADA; A shot by Florida Panthers defenseman Gustav Forsling (not pictured) scores on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov (35) during the second period of game two of the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs have reached the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons but there’s no guarantee it will happen this season.

When you look at the current roster for the Toronto Maple Leafs, you’d be silly to say this team isn’t good enough to reach the playoffs, but sports aren’t guaranteed. You still have to play the games and there are plenty of question-marks surrounding this team.

Heading into the 2022-23 season, many experts said that the Calgary Flames would not only make the playoffs, but they would win the Stanley Cup. Instead, they missed the playoffs in disappointing fashion, which resulted in Brad Treliving and Darryl Sutter losing their jobs.

A detailed look into their season shows they had a lot of bad luck (key players having off-years, injuries, etc.) and there is always a team every year who finds themselves in a similar situation (Las Vegas missed the playoffs before winning the Cup, despite being a pre-season favourite as well).

Treliving landed on his feet as the current GM of our beloved Leafs, but if you look at his career, he’s done nothing but disappoint. Treliving continued to build solid rosters in Calgary built on toughness and skill, but they never transitioned into playoff success.

Unfortunately, the same thing may happen this year in Toronto, which could cost the Leafs for years to come.

As it currently stands, Auston Matthews and William Nylander are set to become UFA’s next offseason. All signs indicate towards Matthews staying, but who knows what’s going to happen with Nylander.

The team could ultimately trade him, or they could ride out the season with him, letting him walk for nothing. However, the unknown of Nylander and Matthews’ future is just one reason why this season could go wrong in a hurry.

Toronto Maple Leafs Could Miss the Playoffs This Year

Offensively, the Leafs should be one of the best teams in hockey, especially after signing Tyler Bertuzzi and having a full season of Matthew Knies. Both of those players in the top-six make this roster even better, but that can only get them so far.

The uncertainty of the Leafs blue-line and goaltending this year could seriously cost them.

Personally, I still think this defensive core is terrible and they’re in jeopardy of being scored on a ton. Morgan Rielly turned on his game in the playoffs last year, but for the entire regular season, he was awful.

He was far from a $7.5M defenseman and didn’t look like the top-pairing player that we all wanted him to be. In fact, his contract seemed like one of the worst in hockey; that’s just how bad he was.

As for the team’s most consistent defenseman last year, that was Mark Giordano, who’s now 39 years old. Sooner than later, Giordano’s game is going to fall off a cliff and it might have already happened, as he wasn’t very good in the playoffs.

Then as a whole, how can you tell me that the combination of TJ Brodie, Jake McCabe, John Klingberg, Timothy Liljegren and Conor Timmins is good enough? All five of these players are OK, but Toronto still doesn’t have a number-one defenseman on the roster, which is the biggest thing they need right now.

Lastly, the Leafs goaltending could cost them a playoff spot this year, once again based off uncertainty. Ilya Samsonov played well enough last year to deserve the starting job, but he still has never played more than 44 games in an NHL season, so that leaves half of the season for Joseph Woll, or worse Matt Murray.

Assuming that Woll or Murray will be good enough for half of the season is a lot to ask and for that reason alone, the Leafs could be in trouble.

Not only that, but the Atlantic Division got so much better this year and every game is going to be a battle. Besides the Montreal Canadiens (which should be easy wins), the Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres all got better, while the Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning will always be tough battles.

dark. Next. Leafs Need to Trade TJ Brodie

Even though this roster looks good on paper, nothing is guaranteed and it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Toronto Maple Leafs battling for a Wild Card spot next April.