1

TLN Predicts the where the Leafs finish and who will be hardest to beat this season

It’s prediction season. Either you like predictions or you don’t. We’re erring on the side of predictions being fun, and that’s why I’ve tapped the TLN Crew on the shoulders and/or stalked them online for the past two weeks attempting to gather our predictions you can take to the bank as well as some of our hottest takes for the upcoming season. We’ve decided to split our predictions into two posts, first looking at the Leafs as a whole and their place in the league, and the tomorrow with a look at our predictions around individual players on the Leafs.

Predictions are meant to be fun, but also to give you a chance to yell at us. I hope you’ll take advantage of both.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

So let’s start with the fact that overall 10 out of 14 contributors are optimistic about the Leafs this year. That’s encouraging. While there was optimism, that optimism had its limits and no one predicts a Leafs Stanley Cup win this year. As for the some other option that could only happen to the Leafs response, one of them seems to be leaning heavily into an unfortunate in season injury derailing the year. Yeah, the sounds more like the Leafs than Stanley Cup finalists. As far as I know that was the only response that saw them as a non-playoff team.

Where will every team in the Atlantic Division finish?

Team Place Range
Lightning 1st 1
Leafs 2nd 2-4
Bruins 3rd 2-5
Panthers 4th 3-6
Canadiens 5th 4-6
Senators 6th 4-8
Red Wings 7th 6-8
Sabres 8th 5-8

So we had everyone rank the Atlantic Division, and it should be noted this happened entirely before Carey Price’s leave of absence was announced. We all apparently really like the Lightning, and they give us no reason to think highly of them, but then with the exception of 2 contributors, the Leafs were next on the list.

The fact that there was some belief that the Sens could be a playoff team seemed a little strange to me, but I admire the hotness of the take.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

I think this is one of the questions with the highest number of different answers. Sucks to be the Devils or Blue Jackets though. There Barry Trotz love slightly edges out the Carolina computer boys, and Brian Burke. I think I was the weirdo still believing in the Capitals.

Who will win the Central Division?

Everyone answered Colorado. As they should.

Who will win the Pacific Division?

Golden Knights had the same response as the Avs did, save for one hot takist picking the Seattle Kraken doing their own version of the Golden Knights debut.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

I guess somewhere between where we asked about how far the Leafs would go and who would win the Stanley Cup there was a bit of a change of heart about the Leafs, and we have one true believer in our midst. The rest of us remain firmly on the Avs train, with one contributor expecting a three peat. Oh to be living the dream in the Tampa sports scene right now.

Some Leafs predictions…

In addition to the close ended questions above, I also asked the contributors for a couple of hot take predictions, and they delivered. Here are the ones specific to the Leafs…

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Mark Norman: Matthews gets injured long-term, Leafs miss the playoffs.

Kyle Cushman: Leafs acquire Filip Forsberg at the deadline.

Joseph Zita: The Toronto Maple Leafs finish with 110 or more points this season.

Scott Maxwell: The Leafs power play is actually consistent this season with actual shooting threats in Nylander and Matthews on the point.

Michael Mazzei: They will improve and no one will care.

Nick Barden: There will be a parade at the end of this season.

Dylan: Meaningful playoff performances.

Jori Negin-Shecter: The Maple Leafs kick the proverbial football before Lucy pulls it away, beating the Bruins in six, only to fall to the Florida Panthers in seven in the second round.

Nick DeSouza: Leafs fans finally get a deadline deal for a big rugged stay at home defenceman.

Mer: They actually make it past the first damn round.

Filipe Dimas: They acquire Bergeron as a deadline rental as Boston flops without Krejci.

Jon: It comes down to final couple games of the season for the Leafs to clinch a playoff spot.

Roxanne: Leafs sweep the Bruins in the Playoffs *knocks on wood*

Nick R: The Leafs win their first-round playoff series in six games or less.

So there’s definitely a healthy mix of optimism and pessimism in there still. Somehow I think Kyle’s response probably has the most people excited.

And since we did it for the Leafs, we’ll do it for the league as well.

Here are our hot take league wide predictions:

Mark Norman: Shesterkin wins the Vezina.

Kyle Cushman: Seattle makes the playoffs as Jared McCann leads them in scoring.

Joseph Zita: There will be 3 players that score 50 or more goals this season for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

Scott Maxwell: The Seattle Kraken end up as that “average ass team that goes on a deep playoff run” this year.

Michael Mazzei: The Senators will be closer to a playoff spot than the Canadiens.

Nick Barden: Colorado won’t get close to the Stanley Cup Finals again.

Dylan: The Florida Panthers get sold to a business group based in Quebec City.

Jori Negin-Shecter: The Pittsburgh Penguins miss the playoffs, and it isn’t particularly close.

Nick DeSouza: Kraken make the playoffs in a top 2 spot in their division.

Mer: The Kraken don’t pull a VGK are just…aren’t that good.

Filipe Dimas: Sens make playoffs.

Jon: The Coyotes accidentally do well but just miss the playoffs and cost themselves a shot at Shane Wright.

Roxanne: Gary Bettman ‘steps down’

Nick R: The Penguins trade Evgeni Malkin at the deadline.

Interesting that our predictions clustered around the Kraken, Senators, and Penguins. I guess we’ll count Mer as the one person not ready to hop on the Kraken bandwagon, but I’m 100% here for the “Malkin?” tweets that will be incoming if Pittsburgh struggles this year.

We’ll be back tomorrow with some more Leafs predictions.