The Toronto Maple Leafs Are (Probably) Stanley Cup Contenders

The Toronto Maple Leafs are, probably, Cup Contenders.

In fact, if things were to break right for them, the Toronto Maple Leafs might be the NHL’s best team.

Their forwards are certainly the class of the NHL.

Not only do the Leafs have two of the best five players alive in the world today, they also have two other no-doubt superstars.

Rounding out their top-six are 2x power-forwards who give them an incredible amount of balance and, perhaps even the ultimate set-up anyone could want, in terms of skill, defense and power at the top of their lineup.

Even the Leafs bottom-six – depending on who they end up using – could be incredible.  Domi, Jarnkrok and Robertson wouldn’t be out of place in anyone’s top-six, and the only concern is if they’ll play David Kampf on the third line like chumps.

If they use Kampf, they have no where to play Robertson.  Additionally, the Leafs should have room to bring in guys like Bobby McMann, Roni Hirvonen, Alex Steeves and Nick Abruzzese.  Since they don’t that means internal competition, which will only make them better.

Overall, even though I don’t want to use the term “deep” to describe a team that may use Max Domi in their top-six, or David Kampf in their top-nine, the Toronto Maple Leafs forwards are the best in the NHL and probably by a significant margin.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Are (Probably) Stanley Cup Contenders

If it were just about forwards, the Toronto Maple Leafs would be Cup Favorites.

However, their goalies are a big question mark and their defense is a joke.

The duo of Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll is cheap, talented, and has tons of upside.  Unfortunately, there are only three or four goalies in the entire world who you can bank on to be great every season.

If you don’t have Vasilevskiy, Sorokin or Hellebuyck you really can’t count 100% on your goalies.

That said, one of the Leafs duo should end up being pretty good, and who knows, Joseph Woll was pretty damn spectacular last season.

The problem is clearly the blue-line.

There is no high-end talent.

There doesn’t appear to be any players with high-end potential, and the overall blue-line lacks upside.

There is a concerning lack of physical players on the blue-line as currently constructed.

Also, five out of the six assumed regulars are either 30 or turning 30 this year.

Mark Giordano is about 100, and Jake McCabe is coming off a brutal playoffs.  Liljegren isn’t trusted by the coach, and Brodie is now 33.  John Klingberg was the worst defenseman in the NHL last year.

Still, hockey is won by elite players, and balance is overrated. The Leafs forwards and a decent season from either of their goalies should be more than enough to make them contenders.