I am very excited about this weeks Power Rankings. Not because the season is over, not because the Leafs finished 30th overall, and not because the Marlies in the playoffs. No I’m excited because this is the final power rankings of the season and I am about to get a couple of hours back in day every Monday. Selfish reasons are always the best ones, and I am very excited to see what I do with my free time.
1. Mission Accomplished
Few things match the thrill of watching your team achieve the goal they set out for at the start of the season. The Leafs had a rocky go of it. Reimer played lights out, Nylander was much better than expected, and the clavicle injury to Connor McDavid made the Oilers as competitive as ever this season, but in the end, the Leafs prevailed and will draft no worse than 4th in the first round and they own the first pick of every round after the first.
2. Misery Loves Company
Schadenfreude is really all we as Leafs fans have had to go on for the past decade and this season really shouldn’t be any different. While the Leafs are missing the playoffs (as planned), so are the Canadiens and the Bruins. That is simply wonderful, especially since the Bruins are setting themselves up to be terrible for a long time and Montreal isn’t showing any signs of wanting to break off their relationship with Michel Therrien.
Of course the Oilers have also missed the playoffs and that means Taylor Hall is coming to a lake near you, so be safe everyone.
3. At Least We Got to See a Win
In a game most of us wanted to see the Flyers win so the Leafs could clinch 30th overall sooner and the Flyers could eliminate the Bruins sooner, the Leafs gave us one last win on the season. The win also helped the Leafs finish with the nice point total of 69, up one over last season.
Even when the Leafs are intentionally tanking they couldn’t do as bad as a Dave Nonis run team coached by Randy Carlyle and Peter Horachek.
4. Lupul and Robidas Not Coming Back?
I’m certainly not rooting for injuries, but I’m not for people putting their long term health at risk for sports either. Add to that the fact that Lupul and Robidas aren’t very good and I’m very excited about what Lou said about neither being back with the Leafs next season.
5. 19 Days and Counting Until the Draft Lottery
This morning, Justin Fisher kicked off our draft eligible prospect coverage with his profile on Auston Matthews.The next 3 weeks will be painful as many of us will not be able to shake how great a fit he is for the Leafs from our heads while acknowledging there is only a 20% chance at him joining the team. Luckily Laine and Puljujarvi look like excellent consolation prizes, and the fourth pick is at least first shot at the best of the rest.
6. Plenty of Great Hockey Left
It’s the Marlies time now. Nylander, Lindberg, Soshnikov, Connor Carrick, Brown, Kapanen, Hyman, and all the other call-ups that made this season bearable are now going for the Calder Cup together on one of the best AHL teams ever assembled.
If that’s not enough there’s a pretty good chance that Komarov, Rielly, Gardiner, and others could pop up in the World Hockey Championships.
If that’s not enough the OHL and QMJHL are rotten with Leafs prospects and odds are at least one of them will find their way into the Memorial Cup.
If that’s not enough, the U-18s start next week and that along with the CHL playoffs is a great time to build out your hottest draft takes.
7. Colin Greening
I don’t think anyone expected 15 points in 29 games out of Colin Greening this season. I don’t think anyone expected him be the solid possession player he was either. Greening was an absolute steal considering he was meant to be dead capspace. In many ways this is shades of Lupul coming over in the Jake Gardiner deal and turning into a found wallet before being given a terrible contract.
It will be interesting to see what he brings to the table next year, but it seems likely that he’ll continue to play like a guy who never wants to go back to the AHL again.
Parenteau, Boyes, Grabner, Clune, Arcobello, Smith, Stalock, Torres, and Brennan are all unrestricted free agents.
Jared Cowen has been promised a buyout, and the health of Robidas and Lupul puts them up in the air.
Stuart Percy, Colin Smith, Garret Sparks, Sam Carrick, and Josh Leivo are all restricted free agents that the current Leafs front office may look at as on the bubble.
No matter how you slice it, there are going to be a lot of new faces in the Leafs organization next season and that’s very exciting when your team just came in dead last. It’s things like this that make the summer the most exciting time to be a Leafs fan.
For all the reasons stated above, and also this Locker Clean Out Day availability from Mike Babcock…
10. Blue Jays
A good baseball team isn’t a bad way to kill the next five months.