Toronto Maple Leafs Season Preview: Locks and Long Shots

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

 Leafs Season Preview: The Long Shots

Inevitably, there will be intriguing stories throughout the Leafs season, perhaps less likely to happen, but not impossible.

One of the more interesting subplots to the Leafs season is their goaltending. Returning starter Samsonov, signed a 1-year deal with the team after an arbitrator’s ruling.

He will once again be trying to prove that he is a capable starting NHL goaltender for a contending team. A strong season could place him out of the Leafs price range when he hits free agency next summer.

Woll looked calm and collected in every circumstance he was thrown into last year, many of them high-pressure situations.

Samsonov has also suffered through some injury concerns.

The number one obstacle keeping Woll from achieving the starting goaltending job of the Toronto Maple Leafs is the past.

The Leafs do not have a great history of drafting and developing their starting goaltenders. James Reimer and Felix “The Cat” Potvin are the only two over the last thirty years.

The stars are aligning for Woll to join that list. By season’s end, he will.

The Leafs defense is their biggest weakness. Lots of question marks surround this group. The play of T.J. Brodie and Mark Giordano regressed last year and it is not a sure thing that they rebound.

Morgan Rielly must carry over his play from last year’s playoffs into the regular season. He is their most reliable defender. You know what he brings and he is still in his prime years.

New addition Klingberg is a shot-in-the-dark experiment with no assurances on how it will turn out.

The Jake McCabe, pre-Panthers series, would be a boon for the Leafs.

The often-overlooked Timothy Liljegren figures to play an important role for the Leafs this season. The former first-round pick will be needed.

The Leafs back end is likely to suffer injuries and sporadic play due to their age. Liljegren will be forced to play within the top 4 at different points throughout the year.

The long shot prediction? The offensive potential of Liljegren will see him lead the Leafs defense in goals this season.