• The Leafs might be better than an 8th place team. Maybe they get to 7th or 6th.

    Maybe the defense plays better and Clarkson rebounds.

    Maybe Kadri has his best season? 50 points last year, maybe he gets 55 to 60 this year. It’s not a huge stretch.

    Lupul only had 44 points last year, pehaps he gets closer to 55 this year?

    Maybe Holland and Santorelli as the Leaf’s bottom end centers get significantly more than the 22 points generated by Bolland and McClement? Seems likley…

    Perhaps a real 4th line makes a difference and the top line isn’t gassed for the last 20 games of the season. There will be no Jered Smithson with 18 games and 0 points.

    In terms of points, Kulemin vs Komorov seems a wash. Last year Kulemin only had 20 points.

    At this point,the goaltenders are the same so there should not be a big drop off there.

    It all comes down to a simple question: Can the Leafs play better defence in combination with contributions from Clarkson, Lupul Frattin, Kadri, Santorelli, Kontiola and the 4th line wingers to make up for the loss of offence from the departure of Mason Raymond?

    Again, it seems possible.

    It’s July, so I am allowed to hope.

      • I’ve been carefully watching the Marlies and the prospects for a few years. I liked what I have seen, so there has always been room for optimism.

        My biggest fear is that they would have traded away Kadri, Gardiner, Granberg, Leivo, Percy, Finn, Broll, Carrick… even Devane has potential.

        Watch out for Tom Nilsson to surprise on the Marlies this year. He’s got a ton of international experience. He’s played against men in the Swedish league and was a candidate for rookie of the year. He hits and plays a defensive game that could translate well to North America…think Kronwall.

        Here’s a recent clip:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQiz6jUSlAA