Many Reasons to Love This Edition of the Toronto Maple Leafs Despite Their Flaws

Despite their inconsistencies and, at times, infuriating play, the Leafs have had many feel-good stories throughout the year that make them a likable team to cheer for. Examples of resilience and grit can be found everywhere, which hasn't always been the case with this team.

St. Louis Blues v Toronto Maple Leafs
St. Louis Blues v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages
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The Leafs Have Successfully Navigated the Absence of Star Players

No one can argue that the Leafs don't miss the likes of Mitch Marner, Morgan Rielly, or Auston Matthews when they are not in the lineup.

Yet, the Leafs have managed to withstand the prolonged absences of both Rielly and Marner.

Rielly's self-inflicted, but streak-igniting retaliation to Ridly Greig's empty-net goal against the Ottawa Senators, saw him suspended for five games. He has missed two more with a recent injury.

The Leafs have won all but one of those seven games.

The Leafs are historically a .500 team without Marner and that has been held this year. Not impressive, but they have stayed afloat in the standings.

Interestingly enough, the Leafs have managed a better points percentage when Matthews has missed games.

Any extended periods without their most important players would be detrimental to playoff hopes, but the Leafs have shown that short-term absences by their best players may not be catastrophic.