Realistically, the Toronto Maple Leafs Have a Great Chance at the Stanley Cup

Mar 14, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) is
Mar 14, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) is / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs failed to bring in any impact players at the trade deadline, and, along with the Edmonton Oilers, easily had the most disappointing deadline of any team in hockey.

The Toronto Maple Leafs failed not because of what they did do but what they didn't.

With Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner in their primes, and John Tavares and Morgan Rielly not getting any younger, the Leafs management owed it to their players and fans to add at least one impact player.

For whatever reason, that didn't happen and it's a missed opportunity. But it's important to remember that this team could go all the way regardless.

The Leafs may not be as good as they were during the shortened season, and they may not be as good as they were last year when they had the deepest team in hockey (Ryan O'Rielly on the third line is nuts) but they are still damn good.

And they could easily win the Stanley Cup.

Realistically, the Toronto Maple Leafs Have a Good Chance at the Cup

The playoffs have a lot of randomness - for starters, seven games isn't nearly long enough of a series to ensure the best team wins.

The Leafs have lost to several inferior teams during their current window of contention. They have also lost to several teams that were their equals. You have to go all the way back to the days of Nazem Kadri getting suspended for multiple game sevens to find a Leafs team that was forced to play a series against a significantly better team.

That won't happen this year. Whether matched up against Boston, Florida, Colorado, Dallas, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Vegas, Edmonton, New York or Carolina the Leafs will be facing a team that is - at best - only slightly better.

Teams have better goalies, and that's an advantage.

Teams have better high-end players on their blue-lines. That's an advantage.

But the Leafs have the best forwards in the NHL. There is no team that has secondary scoring to match Bertuzzi, Knies, and Domi. For proper perspective, those are the Leafs 5th, 6th and 7th best forwards.

Amazingly, after that the Leafs can role with Robertson and McMann. The only reason this isn't more remarked upon is because we're used to it. It's a pretty crazy amount of scoring depth.

And yes, I'd like a blue-line that could move the puck better, and I'd prefer a goalie who wasn't available on waivers earlier in the year, but there is so much randomness that these things don't figure to matter much.

If the Leafs can lose to a lottery team like Montreal and then watch them fluke their way to the Finals, there is no reason they can't do it.

Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner are so overdue for some puck-luck in the playoffs that it should be petrifying to whoever plays them. Boston or Florida are going to be shocked when they realize that you can't contain a Toronto Maple Leafs team with Tavares, Matthews and Nylander on different lines.

They are relentless and they won't stop coming. It took a series of ridiculous occurances on par with Mr. Burns Softball team to prevent this Leafs roster from winning more over the last half decade or so.

That can't last for much longer, and it likely won't. Do people actually think Florida is better? They're overrated as its possible to be, and an unleashed and hungry Auston Matthews could single-handedly beat them if you put him on one of the worst rosters in the league.

The Leafs are only a disappointment based on what they could have done (gone all in for Juuse Saros, for example). We forget how good their baseline is.

The flukey reseults of past seasons also make people underrate them.

The facts are that there isn't a single team in the NHL that is dominating with a bunch of superstar players on entry-level deals right now, and that makes the field wide open.


The Toronto Maple Leafs are going to win the Stanley Cup this year.