Well, this is it. Hockey is back this week. The Leafs have made pretty much all their final cuts in preparation for their season opener tomorrow night against the Senators, and that means it’s time for us to get some last-minute preview content out the door before the games mean something.
With that in mind, let’s try to answer the most obvious questions people might have going into maybe the most highly-anticipated year in Toronto since the early 2000s. It’s simple really, I just asked some of the other writers here at the site to just provide the following: Their final playoff standings predictions for both conferences, where they think the Leafs’ season ends, the Cup winner, a bold NHL take, and a bold Leafs take.
Western Conference Playoff Picture
No supremely hot takes here, but it’s clear that people are starting to cool on the Jets in a big way. Four out of six writers picked Winnipeg to miss entirely. Also the Avalanche love is real.
And while the Canucks seem like a long shot, I’ll at least speak for myself in saying the bubble in the west is a total crapshoot. It was either these wildcard teams or, like, the Coyotes. Not much to get too excited about there.
Eastern Conference Playoff Picture
Finally some good content. The wildcard bubble in the east is extremely tough to predict, as is the Metro I’d argue. No one strayed away from the Tampa-Toronto-Boston juggernaut at the top of the Atlantic, which was probably smart, but after that things are really opened up. With major changeover like two Jackets stars going to Florida and New York, and a 1-2 in the draft that went to the Devils and Rangers, things are changing quickly. As such, you can tell people had a hard time predicting the risers and fallers; Four of six writers had the Penguins out of the playoffs entirely, while the Devils, Rangers, and Flyers are all perhaps more represented than we would’ve thought. It’s going to be a fun and extremely tight season in the east.
Where the Leafs’ season ends
We know everyone had Toronto firmly planted in the playoffs, but how far do they think they’ll go?
Jon: Game 7 in round one against Boston. Tradition is important
Rachel: Second round
Thomas: Cup final
Mike: Stanley Cup babyyyyyyy
Scott: Second round
Ryan: With these b’ys hoisting the Cup
Long may your big jib draw 🐟 pic.twitter.com/URc39pF1Im
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) September 14, 2019
Other Bold NHL Take
Jon: People are going to be mad online about concussion protocol.
Rachel: If Byfuglien retires, Winnipeg gets stuck in a tough spot and will just miss the playoffs.
Thomas: Kappo Kakko scores 40 goals.
Mike: Connor McDavid will request a trade out of Edmonton by the draft.
Scott: The Jets will be terrible and Laine gets traded at the deadline.
Ryan: The Canucks make the playoffs and Elias Pettersson wins the Hart. And Don Cherry “retires” aka gets fired like Bob Cole.
Other Bold Leafs Take:
Jon: Babcock is still the coach, even after another first round exit.
Rachel: If the Leafs get past Tampa they make a run to the Final.
Thomas: Two Leafs beat Rick Vaive’s record of 54 goals in a season. (Editor’s note: Thomas really is BOLD with these takes.)
Mike: Trevor Moore flirts with 20 goals.
Scott: Cody Ceci is traded once Dermott returns.
Ryan: I just predicted they’d win the Cup. Can’t think of anything bolder than that.