TLN Roundtable: Will the Leafs make the playoffs this year?

Ryan Hobart
January 13 2017 02:07PM

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We're now at approximately the halfway mark of the season. The Leafs have played 39 of 82 games and we have more than enough to go on to establish an opinion on what's going to happen to the Leafs this season.

There's no question that every one of us would be ecstatic to see the Leafs make the playoffs. But how many think it's possible? Let's find out.

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The emergence of Nikita Zaitsev

Ryan Hobart
January 10 2017 07:32AM

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Photo Credit: Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY SPORTS

This offseason, the Leafs signed Nikita Zaitsev, a KHL free agent that brought much anticipation. The Leafs were in desperate need for improvement on the right side of their defense, and Nikita Zaitsev's play promised to bring that

There were some that were skeptical of just how much an impact he could have, including myself. After all, we're still not totally sure how the KHL stacks up against the NHL, since that league is so volatile these days. Could Zaitsev really be a top 4 defenseman in his first NHL season?

He definitely can.

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Connor Brown is an average depth forward and that's fantastic

Ryan Hobart
December 19 2016 07:51AM

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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

Recently, Connor Brown has been fitting in nicely for the Maple Leafs. It seems like an appropriate time to talk about his performance so far in more detail. He has played all 29 games for the Maple Leafs so far and has seen a lot of faith put in him by Mike Babcock.

Despite being a forward that didn't have to go through waivers, among a sea of depth forwards that the Maple Leafs had in training camp, Connor Brown was able to find a role on this Maple Leafs team. It started on the 4th line with Holland and Martin, grew into a 3rd line role with Nazem Kadri, and now is partially becoming a shared role on Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman's 1st/2nd line (the line TOI is a little muddled) with William Nylander.

There was a pretty strong feeling heading into this year that Brown was going to win the uphill battle of making the roster, knowing how Mike Babcock lauded over his stint with the Maple Leafs last season. Here is his TLN prospect profile written in the summer (by yours truly) for some context. Now that he's here, he's making waves.

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LEAFS POSTGAME: Swimming with the Fishies

Ryan Hobart
December 13 2016 08:47PM

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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

The Sharks were visiting Toronto tonight in a contest against the Maple Leafs. The Sharks are shaping up to be one of the best teams in the league again this year, while Toronto is floating between the basement and playoff contention.

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POSTGAME: Leafs hunt down the Bruins | Leafs 4 - 1 Bruins

Ryan Hobart
December 10 2016 07:45PM

The Leafs were in Boston tonight (that's the Toronto-Dominion Arena) to take on the Bruins. The closest thing the Leafs have to a rivalry currently, this matchup shaped up to be an entertaining Saturday night.

Keys for tonight's game:

  • Try not to get dominated by the Bergeron line
  • Get Auston Matthews some offensive zone time
  • Shelter the heck out of the Hunwick/Polak pairing

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