by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post
The Toronto Maple Leafs are hoping to become the first Canadian Stanley Cup champion since the Montreal Canadiens won it all in 1993, and the NHL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com are in their favor over almost everyone except the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The problem for Toronto is that Tampa Bay also resides in the Atlantic Division, and even winning the Presidents’ Trophy last season did not help the Lightning get past the first round of the playoffs. Both they and the Maple Leafs fizzled out early on in the postseason, while the Boston Bruins made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. After putting up 100 points last season, Toronto’s season OVER/UNDER points total for 2019/20 has been listed at 101.5.
2018/19 Points Total: 100
2019/20 Points OVER/UNDER: 101.5
Odds to Win Division: +275
Odds to Win Conference: +700
Odds to Win Stanley Cup: +1200
Boston has been Toronto’s nemesis the past couple years in the postseason, winning the first-round series between the teams in seven games each time. The Maple Leafs still have plenty of scoring options despite restricted free agent Mitch Marner remaining unsigned and veteran center Patrick Marleau moving on, so the best way for them to improve this year is to get better on defense.
And defensively Toronto may be better with the addition of Tyson Barrie from the Colorado Avalanche. Barrie totaled 59 points (14 goals and 45 assists) for the Avalanche last season and was acquired with Alexander Kerfoot for Nazem Kadri and Calle Rosen. Kadri was a solid offensive player for the Maple Leafs with 44 points (16 goals and 28 assists) a year ago, but he also could not control his temper against the Bruins in the postseason, getting suspended twice when his team needed him the most. That could have been the difference each time.
As well, goaltender Frederik Andersen has not been able to solve the Bruins or the Washington Capitals in the team’s past three playoff appearances, and he must step up and perform like a star for the Leafs to take the next step and become a true Cup contender.
If Toronto can find a way to make Marner happy with a new deal and incorporate him back into the mix with stars John Tavares and Auston Matthews, there is no doubt that this team can contend as one of the top favorites to hoist the Cup. The defense just needs to be better.