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

1. They Got Worse Defensively, On Purpose

They got rid of actual good defensive players like Alex Kerfoot and Pierre Engvall and replaced them with scorers like Domi and McMann.

I'm not against going with more offense, but this atypical of what teams usually do.

"Let's get worse defensively for next year's playoffs" is an unusual strategy but it's essentially what the Leafs did (they also got rid of Noel Acciari, Ryan O'Reilly and Sam Lafferty from what was truly an elite defensive bottom-six last year).

It's a fact that "boring" players like Engvall and Kerfoot - who don't hit and rarely score or make the highlights - are unpopular because they don't ever seem to do anything and often only really get noticed when they make errors.

But statistically, they are solid players who win their minutes and can play anywhere in the lineup. Contrast this to the kind of lineup juggling you have to do to make the very popular Max Domi effective and you can start to see why the Leafs are more popular but worse this year.

2. The Jusin Holl Factor

They got rid of Justin Holl and somehow got worse on defense.

That should not even be possible. They lost three of their top four from the start of last year as along with Holl, Muzzin was injured and Brodie has disintegrated.

I have written nearly every day since July 1st about how bizarre their approach to the blue-line has been and I give up trying to understand their thinking.