6 Reasons Why the Maple Leafs Are Just An Average Team Looking to Get Lucky

Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders
Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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The Toronto Maple Leafs lost game one, but were able to pull off a great victory last night.

Despite the victory, the Toronto Maple Leafs are not favored to win this series and they have a ridiculous path through the playoffs, since if they do beat Boston their reward is either Tampa or Florida, two of the other best teams in the NHL.

While there is always hope that any team that makes the playoffs can win the Stanley Cup, I don't think I'm alone in being disappointed that in year eight of the Auston Matthews Era, the Leafs are not one of the top teams in the NHL.

Not even their most biased pro-Leafs fan thinks they came into the playoffs as a Cup Favorite. Instead, in year eight of Auston Matthews career, the Leafs took a step back and their hopes for the Stanley Cup rested on the idea of getting lucky, and not much else.

The Leafs goaltending and blue-line is just not up to the standards of other Cup Contenders.

They don't have a mobile, puck-moving blue-line to compliment their high-scoring forwards, and they don't have a goalie they can count on They do have Auston Matthews, so the series is basically a coin-flip. The Leafs and Bruins are two solid but flawed teams.

Unfortunately, unless I am mistaken, defense and goaltending are considered the most important things in the playoffs, and the Leafs don't have either of those things.

From the get-go, Brad Treliving was a bad choice to replace Kyle Dubas. First, the Leafs had almost no interview process. Second, his previous team was a mess. Third, he had one of the worst summer's of any GM in the league, making several bone-headed signings and doing nothing to improve the team.

The Leafs entered the 2024 season with one of the worst blue-lines in the NHL, and that was before they knew how badly TJ Brodie would fall off.

During the season, they did nothing to improve. For months their defense was in tatters, and at times so was their goaltending. Treliving deserves some credit for being patient and not panic-adding someone he didn't necessarily need, but there comes a time when not panicking turns into neglegence, and he crossed that line sometime in January.

"Just wait till the trade deadline" we thought, but then while other teams were adding superstars and circumventing the salary cap, Treleving thought the best individual season in Toronto Maple Leafs history deserved only Joel Edmundson as help for the playoffs.

The Leafs finished the season as the top scoring 5v5 team and an average defensive team. They were 24th in 5v5 save-percentage, which is embarssing for a Cup Contending team in year 7 of it's window.

Whatever the playoff results end up being, we know the Leafs came into the first round as an underdog. That is unacceptable for a team in the seventh year of it's window of contention. Win or lose, the Leafs entered the Stanley Cup playoffs with the goal of getting lucky. They had no reasonable expectation of being the best team, and the best anyone could hope for is an unexpected run of goaltending from Samsonov or Woll combined with a dominant peformance from Auston Matthews.

But how did we get here? This should be a no-doubt top team. The best player in franchise history is having his best ever season and expectations should be higher than just the hope that they hit on a hail mary. (all stats naturalstattrick.com).