The Toronto Maple Leafs had a very long and eventful summer.
The Toronto Maple Leafs fired their GM, took their goalie to arbitration, re-signed their franchise player, re-signed their coach, and signed a whole bunch of name-brand but-not-very-good players for a whole bunch of money, seemingly using the formula of the Expendables movies to fill out the rest of their roster.
All of this culminates today in the first pre-season game of the year.
It is the Toronto Maple Leafs vs Ottawa Senators, and it is being played this afternoon in Ottawa.
Toronto Maple Leafs Kick Off Preseason vs Senators
The Senators, who, unlike the Leafs, did make a trade this summer (albeit a very bad one), are icing an exciting roster that lacks the high-end Mitch Marner/Auston Matthews-level talent that would put them over the top.
Despite a great core, the Senators never got their generational player while they were picking high, and I think they may be in for years of mediocrity. Then again, the. Leafs have been a great team for years and do not have anything to show for it.
Despite being a top team for a half-decade, the Montreal Canadiens fluked their way into a Stanley Cup Final appearance and the impression I get from most fans is that they’d prefer to suck and fluke out, than to be consistently great and always get unlucky.
I may be alone on this, but I would prefer the annually competitive team that just can’t get it done.
Anyways, I may be rambling, but the point is that the Leafs are again looking to be a top team, even though their supporting cast does not appear to be very good, and even though their new GM seems like a bit of a joke. (Seriously, Ryan Reaves for three years is just embarrassing).
The Senators? Not so much.
They are likely going to miss the playoffs yet again. The Atlantic Division can send a maximum of Five teams to the playoffs, but doing so means that one of New Jersey, New York, Pittsburgh or Carolina would have to miss the playoffs, which seems unlikely.
Assuming only four Atlantic teams make the playoffs, the Leafs, Lightning, Bruins and Panthers would all seem to be absolute locks, and could actually end up being the four best teams in hockey.
On paper only Edmonton and maybe Dallas really looks like they could be a better team than any of the Atlantic’s best.
The Senators would have a legitimate shot at winning the West, but do not appear to be a likely playoff team in the East.
That is just bad luck.
As for today, the Leafs roster barely warrants this game previews, but hockey is hockey and this should be at least better than watching yet another baseball game.