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Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The revised Maple Leafs schedule is about as friendly as it can be

The Leafs have no shortage of games to make up after a number of postponements in December and January either due to COVID protocols or out of attempts at getting the Leafs playing in front of fans and generating ticket revenue.

The Leafs find themselves with 11 rescheduled games overall, including the two that were essentially moved to get the Leafs optimal home dates, and this has the Leafs with the highest number of make up games of all teams presently sitting in a playoff spot, and only the Senators, Canadiens, and Islanders have more games to make up overall. Suddenly that three week stretch without hockey in February has become very busy, but it always was going to be potentially busy for Leafs players as the Leafs could have had their roster core committed to the Olympics, so perhaps playing around the same number of games as they’d have in the Olympics and cutting out the travel and quarantine time in Beijing is still a net gain. Still, when you see the Panthers only making up 4 games, and the Lightning with 5, the deck seems a little stacked against the Leafs, although it could have been so much worse.

Here is the list of rescheduled games for the Leafs:

Opponent New Date Start Time
New Jersey 31-Jan 7:30 PM
Carolina 7-Feb 7:00 PM
@Calgary 10-Feb 9:00 PM
@Vancouver 12-Feb 7:00 PM
@Seattle 14-Feb 9:00 PM
Pittsburgh 17-Feb 7:00 PM
St. Louis 19-Feb 8:00 PM
@Montreal 21-Feb 7:00 PM
@Columbus 22-Feb 7:00 PM
@Detroit 26-Feb 7:30 PM
Detroit 26-Apr 7:00 PM

At quick glance, the worst part of that is probably the quick turnaround from Montreal to Columbus. The positive in that is those aren’t teams you particularly need to fret about having in a back to back, even a completely road back to back, so the Leafs aren’t hard done by. The Leafs also gain one other back to back out of this, as their game on January 31st is followed by a game on February 1st, but given that their opponent is New Jersey for both games, the teams are on equal footing, and aside from Auston Matthews and Jack Campbell, the All-Star Game break will provide the majority of the Leafs some rest before picking up an intense 11 game in 21 night end to February.

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The other fortunate part of the Leafs schedule is their Western road trip remains intact. Providing the Leafs the convenience of knocking off Calgary, Vancouver, and Seattle in one trip is absolutely the league doing Toronto a solid.

The other break was that only three of the games that were rescheduled are against teams presently sitting in a playoff spot. The Canes, Penguins, and Blues are the stiff competition of the group, and the rest of the games will be the Leafs battling their own complacency.

Finally the Leafs benefit for a nice lead up to their increase in activity. Over the next week and a half the Leafs only play three times. Their players in COVID protocol should be available by the weekend, hopefully there will be time for Jake Muzzin to heal up, and whether the Leafs intend to ride Jack Campbell or get Petr Mrazek ready to handle a bigger workload, they’ve got time to prep or rest their goalies depending on their strategy.

In short, it could be so much worse, and there are no excuses for losing ground in the standings over the new schedule.

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