ZADS: Eastern Conference Preview- Toronto Maple Leafs

by Chris Zadorozny (@Zads07)

In the 15th preview of 15 Eastern Conference teams, we’ll look at a team that will most likely become a playoff contender this season. The Maple Leafs made the playoffs last year, but fell apart in the first round against the Eastern Conference Champions. This year, they could go farther.

Division: Atlantic

2012-2013 record

  • 26-17-5
  • 9th Overall in the League
  • 5th in the Eastern Conference
  • 3rd in the Northeast Division

History

  • One of the Original Six franchises. Founded in 1917 as the Toronto Arenas. Renamed the Maple Leafs after being sold in 1926.
  • 13 Stanley Cups (1917-18, 1921-22, 1931-32, 1941-42, 1944-45, 1946-47, 1947-48, 1948-49, 1950-51, 1961-62, 1962-63, 1963-64, 1966-67)
  • 0 Conference Championships
  • 5 Division Championships (1932-33, 1933-34, 1934-35, 1937-38, 1999-00)

General Manager: Dave Nonis

Coach: Randy Carlyle

Captain: Dion Phaneuf

2013 stats: Top 5 players

Phil Kessel (20 G, 32 A, 52 PTS), Nazem Kadri (18 G, 26 A, 44 PTS), James van Riemsdyk (18, 14 A, 32 PTS), Cody Franson (4 G, 25 A, 29 PTS), Tyler Bozak (12 G, 16 A, 28 PTS)

2013 Team Rankings

6th in Goals/Game (3.02), 17th in Goals Against (2.67), 14th in Power Play (18.7%), 2nd in Penalty Kill (87.9%)

Goaltending Situation

  • James Reimer (33 GP, 19 W, 8 L, 5 OTL, .924 SV%, 2.46 GAA)
    • Reimer was the starter last year. He wasn’t amazing, but he wasn’t terrible. He will be the starter coming into the season
  • Jonathan Bernier (14 GP, 9 W, 3 L, 1 OTL, .922 SV%, 1.88 GAA)
    • Bernier was the backup in Los Angeles last year, and will probably be the backup to Reimer, but is a formidable backup.

Reimer is the starter, and Bernier is expected to push for that starting job. This could be a very good tandem for the Leafs as both are proven goaltenders. Now that Bernier is out of the spotlight of Quick, he could prove himself in Toronto.

Offseason Moves

Additions: G Jonathan Bernier (Trade/Los Angeles), F David Bolland (Trade/Chicago), F David Clarkson (Free Agent/New Jersey), D T.J. Brennan (Free Agent/Nashville), F Trevor Smith (Free Agent/Pittsburgh), F Troy Bodie (Free Agent/Anaheim), F Mason Raymond (Free Agent/Vancouver)

Losses: F Matt Frattin (Trade/Los Angeles), G Ben Scrivens (Trade/Los Angeles), D Mike Komisarek (Free Agent/Carolina), F Clarke MacArthur (Free Agent/Ottawa), D Mike Mottau (Free Agent/Florida), F Ryan Hamilton (Free Agent/Edmonton), D Michael Kostka (Free Agent/Chicago), F Mikhail Grabovski (Free Agent/Washington), C Joe Colborne (Trade/Calgary)

Games vs. Red Wings

  • Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ Toronto (7:00pm)
  • Wednesday, January 1, 2014 vs. Toronto (1:00pm)
    • NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic @ Ann Arbor
    • Tuesday, March 18, 2014 vs. Toronto (7:30pm)
    • Saturday, March 29, 2014 @ Toronto (7:00pm)

The Toronto Maple Leafs are and up and coming team, and seeing them in the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day will bring back the rivalry of old. This is a gritty team that will compete hard each and every night and could give the Red Wings some difficulty this season. Either way, this could become the best rivalry in hockey.

To read the original post that appeared on Sports Radio Detroit, on October 1, 2013, go to www.sportsradiodetroit.com

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