The Leafs lose the easy ones but win the tough ones.
After shedding three players at the NHL trade deadline, the Leafs have 20 games to close the gap on 8th place in the East, but will need some help.
Can the Leafs perform the improbable and reel in a playoff spot?
Making the playoffs is not impossible - but then again most unlikely as each of the teams ahead of them in standings would all have to start losing at the same rate in order for the Leafs to catch - and then pass - them. That includes Boston, Buffalo, the Rangers, and Philadelphia who, you think, soon have to come out of their recent funk. Likely starting tonight against the Senators.
Having said that, could the Leafs survive in the Eastern Conference playoffs should they make it? If there was a clearly dominant team in the East I'd say emphatically "no." But there isn't. All have shortcomings which put them well below the Cup favourites Anaheim, Detroit, and maybe Dallas and San Jose, although I'm not convinced that either of those last two are real contenders.
The thing is, if the Leafs DO make the playoffs (and wouldn't it be ironic if it were the Senators who fell right out of the Top 8 to make room for them?), and even go deep, it doesn't do much for their future. They still have those hefty contracts awarded to McCabe, Kubina, Tucker, and Blake and none among them are expected to get better with age. So, next year, they'd likely be faced with the same struggles.
George O'Leary, 2008-02-28 10:20:46
There were only 6 teams in 66-67. I think this is a little more improbable.
Leafs will get another 8th to 12th pick and continue to lose for another 10 years.
K Fox, 2008-02-28 10:02:49
They need to get a really good draft pick this summer.
Fletcher made it clear after the trade deadline that there will be major changes this summer, so that's a good sign.
Fletcher also picked up a 2nd, 3rd and 5th round pick this year and a 5th next year, so the Leafs have to make good choices when they draft this summer.
gordholio, 2008-02-28 08:29:34