With the Toronto Maple Leafs taking two of the first three games of the season, including a huge comeback win against the Montreal Canadiens on Opening Night, things appear to have started off on the right foot for the boys in blue.
On the other hand, the defence and goaltending perhaps has been a little more suspect, but hopefully they still have some time to work out the kinks in the coming games.
Speaking of those games, the Leafs will now embark on an extended five-game road trip starting in the Sunshine State on Thursday.
This Upcoming Road Trip Could Define the Toronto Maple Leafs Season
It may be early, but this five-game, ten-day road trip could go a long way in determining if the Leafs will be true contenders for the 2023-24 season.
Their first two games will be against their two playoff foes from last season in the Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning. If they can manage to beat both of them, they could convey the message that they are back and better this year and will do all they can to avenge their playoff exit from last season.
Following those two games, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be up against Rasmus Sandin and the Washington Capitals. No doubt Sandin will want to send a message to his former team that they made a huge mistake trading him when they play, so the Leafs must do their best to show that the move was the right move at the time and will turn out to be negligible by neutralizing Sandin and his team in the process.
After that, the Stanley Cup semi-finalists Dallas Stars led by Jason Robertson would be up, so the Leafs could gauge how their newly built roster would fare against another potential Stanley Cup contender.
Finally, they will end their trip in Nashville against the Predators, where both Ryan O’Reilly and Luke Schenn signed via free agency during the offseason after leaving Toronto. The Leafs will need to do the best they can on the ice to let them know that leaving town was a bad move on their part, as the true contenders are actually here.
On top of it all, once they return home from the road trip, the first game they play will be the nine-game mark for Toronto Maple Leafs rookie Fraser Minten.
If he manages to stick with the team beyond then, it would mean their move in getting rid of Sam Lafferty in favour of Minten was worth it.
However, if he ends up being sent back to juniors, it would signify that already at the start of the season, management has made a bad move that could ultimately affect the team down the road, as Lafferty has been off to a strong start in Vancouver. Not only that, but with Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi currently off to slow starts for the Leafs, if they don’t get going soon during this road trip, things could begin to look even worse very soon.
As a result, it is crucial that if the Leafs are really serious in their quest to get back into the playoffs and go all the way to the finals, that they have an excellent road trip.