NHL.com offers an in-depth list and analysis of probability and fantasy for each of its 32 teams from August 8 to September 8. 8. Today, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Toronto Maple Leafs remain confident in their core and feel they are about to take the next step toward winning the Stanley Cup after another disappointing season.
The Maple Leafs lost the Eastern Conference’s first round in seven games to the Tampa Bay Lightning last season and haven’t won a Stanley Cup series since 2004. Recently, the talented center position Auston Matthews straight ahead Mitchell Marner And the William Nylander and defenseman Morgan Riley He was part of the Toronto side that lost the inaugural post-season streak in six straight seasons.
But management and ownership have improved enough to give the four key players another chance, along with general manager Kyle Dupas and coach Sheldon Keefe, to work together to beat the hump.
“I think in the moments when you don’t reach the potential that everyone knows you have and that you privately know you have, then true faith is measured,” Dubbas said. “I believe in the group.”
There is a legitimate reason to feel this way.
The Maple Leafs broke records in Toronto with 54 wins and 115 points in 2021-22 and took Lightning, who came to the series as a two-time Stanley Cup champion, in Game 7, with a 2-1 defeat. But in his loss, Dubas said he felt a different atmosphere around the team that leads to optimism for the future.
“I think the regular season and the elimination series, the way the group played was different,” Dubas said. “I didn’t feel in games 5, 6 or 7 that we were on our heels or we were interacting with another team dictating the way the match was going. I didn’t feel in previous years, where we were passive.”
Matthews became the third Maple Leafs player to win the Hart Cup, and was voted the NHL’s Most Valuable Player, having led the league with 60 goals, the most in NHL history by a Toronto and US-born player. The 24-year-old was the second American-born player to win the Hart title. Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick King He won it in 2015-16.
“I know belief in our room is still very high,” Matthews said. “The dip we faced against Tampa [Bay]It felt different.”
The most significant change to the Maple Leafs this season will be goalkeeping.
he went Jack Campbell1 in Toronto the past two seasons, who signed a five-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers as an unrestricted free agent on July 13. The 30-year-old was 31-9-6 with 2.64 goals-to-average, .914 savings and five closes in 49 games (47 starts) last season.
Toronto filled that hole with the veteran Matt Murray Trade with Ottawa Senators and sign Ilya Samsonovformerly of Washington Capitals, in free agency.
Murray, who helped the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017, came to the Maple Leafs on July 11 for future considerations. The 28-year-old was 15-25-3 with a 3.23 GAA average, .899 savings and three layoffs in 47 games (45 starts) during two seasons with the Senators.
Murray said, “It’s all about pushing myself to try to be the absolute best, and I think Toronto is a great place to do that. Lots of excitement on my part.”
After two days of trading for Murray, Toronto signed a one-year contract with Samsonov. The 25-year-old was a 23-12-5 year old with 3.02 GAA, .896 savings and three stops in 44 games (39 starts) with the Capitals last season.
Dubbas said the two will battle it out at a training camp for the first job.
There were several other tweaks to the roster over the summer, but no major sprinklers. centers Cali Jarnrock And the Adam Judit forward Nicholas Ob-Kobel Each of them will get a chance in the bootcamp to land on points in the third and fourth lines; Yarnrock scored 30 points (12 goals, 18 assists) in 66 games for the Seattle Kraken and Calgary Flames, and Judit scored 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 58 games for the Senator, Blackhawks and Opp-Coppell 22 points (11). goals and assists 11) in 67 games for the Colorado Avalanche.
Regardless of the goal, Keefe said he believes keeping the core team together, including Dubas and himself, gives impetus to the Maple Leafs ahead of 2022-23. Toronto is 116-50-19 in 185 regular season games since he replaced Mike Babcock as coach on November 20, 2019.
“I felt that we advanced in the decisive moments and were not afraid to lose,” he said. “I have great faith in our group and I still strongly believe in our group and the efforts they gave us.”