TLN Power Rankings: March 28, 2016

Eight games left, two weeks of Leafs hockey. Only two more Power Rankings after this one until we’re all free!!!!

As we near the close of the season, I would like to say to all our readers, “Thank you for being a friend.”

1. THE WINNING STREAK WAS FUN

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Wow! Three games in a row. Even crazier is 6-3-1 in their last 10. The Leafs have briefly looked like a competitive hockey team. A six game home stand can do that. Teams frequently playing their backup goaltender and feeling comfortable sitting players with minor injuries against you can also do that. I don’t want this to take away from the fact that winning is very fun, and frankly we all needed to see this team win, but I also wouldn’t take it as the answer to our prayers is as simple as promoting all the Marlies.

2. JONATHAN BERNIER LOOKING LIKE AN NHL GOALTENDER

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Jonathan Bernier has looked better of late, largely because the team around him has looked better of late. Generally this isn’t as exciting as a large number of the other things on this list, but if this means that the Leafs are willing to stick it out with Bernier for one more year instead of trying to solve their goaltender situation now, they are potentially better off. Reaping the rewards of goaltending panic around a potential expansion draft is the best option for this organization.

3. FRANK CORRADO’S FIRST LEAFS GOAL

After spending the first half of the season as a healthy scratch it’s nice to see Corrado get some ice time and make the most of it. By no means is Corrado someone who will be looked to produce offence from the blueline, but it’s still exciting to see him finally score as a Leaf.

4. NAZEM KADRI 4 POINT NIGHT

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Kadri’s slow start to the season has plagued people’s impression of his point totals and if you ignore October and November, Kadri has probably exceeded most expectations for him from before the season. Unfortunately you do have to count two months of hockey, and people will hold that against him despite the fact he’s had a very good year. Seeing Nazem put up four points can be an amuse bouche for a very exciting 2016-17 season.

5. NYLANDER’S 3 POINT NIGHT

He doesn’t need to score a single point because he has that beautiful hair, but Nylander scored 3. In one night. Against his hometown Calgary Flames. I sure would like to take him for soft serve ice cream to celebrate.

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6. BOZAK RETURNS

IT WASN’T AS BAD AS WE THOUGHT!

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Seriously, Bozak creating value for himself is only a good a thing, and we can once again only hope that he’s part of the overhaul we’ve been promised this summer.

7. CONNOR BROWN’S FIRST NHL GOAL

Scoring a game tying goal to send your team into overtime where they eventually pull out a win is a pretty exciting first goal to have. Picking up 3 points in your first week in the NHL isn’t too shabby either.

8. MILAN MICHALEK LOOKS LIKE AN NHLER

Yeah, we kinda knew he was one, but the fact that he doesn’t look like a half bad one is pretty darn exciting. Michalek and Greening have turned into a couple of found wallets from the Phaneuf trade, and at the very least help fill out the Leafs roster for the next season in one of the best possible ways.

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9. PITTSBURGH’S COMFORTABLE

Will seven games remaining for each the Wings and Pens, the Wings would somehow need to win four more games than the Pens in that time frame to knock them out of a playoff spot, so relax, the Leafs are going to have two first round picks this summer. We can now start actively cheering against the Pens who are making the pick worse with every win.

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10. MAKING PEACE WITH NOT BEING 30TH

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The Leafs have a two point advantage over the Oilers who somehow have four games at hand. As bad as the Leafs are, they are probably going to win at least one of those games, if not two at the rate they’ve been going. To add to the dog fight, the Canucks are also at 67 points with a game at hand, and Blue Jackets, Flames, and Jets are all sitting at 68.

In typical fashion the Leafs could blow a season worth of tanking in two weeks (see Gerber, Martin) and wind up with a much later pick than expected. Amazingly this does not bother me as much as it should.

The big incentive for tanking in my eyes is having the 31st overall pick in the second round, which is a pretty nice way to start day two of the draft, but even not having that isn’t the end of the world. 

If the Leafs lose out the lottery, I am very comfortable with about 8 different players that would find their way in the 4-12 range of the draft, and if the Leafs don’t have first dibs, I am still comfortable with who they’ll have. They miss out on Chychrun, I guess we get Sergachev. Didn’t get Keller, I guess we take McLeod. No Nylander, might as well draft Dubois. It’s that easy. So relax. Our Leafs fandom has conditioned us to know we weren’t getting one of the top three picks anyway.

IN CLOSING…

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  • magesticRAGE

    Hey, maybe Shanahan’s horseshoe will cover the lottery as well. Everything has gone kinda perfect, really has.

    It’s situations think this that I would prefer to have a reverse playoff instead of the lottery picks. I would make more revenue to cash strapped teams, more ratings for the networks, and the fans can remain engaged to their home teams. I also think it would curb the tanking issue, causing teams to retool than a full scorched earth. I believe the Leafs would actually EARN the top pick, and Edmonton would be entitled to it.

  • Jeremy Ian

    Thanks, Jon. A good uplift.

    I have to say, I have been bummed for the past few weeks, tolerating a season of losses thinking there would be redemption in the form of a top pick at the end.

    No matter how hard Leaf management has tried, their effort can’t outdo the mess that is the Oilers and Canucks.

    I am ok with your peace message. But I reserve the right to harbour a personal and permanent disgust for Edmonton.

  • CMpuck

    Bernier sucks because of October and November but Kadri is awesome because we ignore October and November? Dah f…

    (directed at general internet attitude not this article)