Are the Leafs a Playoff Team?
So far the Toronto Maple Leafs have impressed many fans in various ways. Whether Marner makes an extraordinary pass or Matthews keeps scoring goals. However, a lot of fans are wondering whether this young leafs team will make the playoffs this year. The Toronto Maple Leaf's offence has posed a significant threat to the opposition. Marner has got 47 points so far, Matthews has a lot of points so far, Kadri has many points also. Based on these high numbers one would think that the Leafs should be comfortably in a playoff spot. However, that is far from the truth. As great as the leafs are offensively, it's quite the opposite defensively. The leafs defense possess some really good offence defencemen including Morgan Reilly, Jake Gardiner, and Nikita Zaitsev. However, this is not enough to make the NHL postseason. The Leaf's defence is mediocre to say the least. While Morgan Reilly and Nikita Zaitsev possess the skill and talent to become great NHL defensemen the same cannot be said for the rest of the Toronto defense. Jake Gardiner possesses offence upside but he is 26 years old currently and has difficulty managing the puck in his own zone. Babcock seems as though he likes Jake Gardiner. It makes sense because Babcock wants puck possession and Gardiner is a puck moving defenseman. However, you cannot maintain the majority of possession if you constantly turn the puck over to the opposition in your own zone. Then you have Connor Carrick who is still young but needs work on his puck management skills. Lest we forget Matt Hunwick and Roman Polak. They are both veterans in the NHL which helps their case on this young Leaf's team. However, defensively both players have been horrible at covering open players as well as constantly turning the puck over. But if Frederick Andersen is able to play consistently solid then the Leafs should make the postseason. Unless Babcock improves the Leaf's defense this season making the playoffs will be very difficult. So, yes while the Leafs have a good possibility of making the postseason this season it is hard to imagine that they will be a playoff team unless the Leaf's defense improves. There is reason for the Leafs fans to be optimistic that their defence will improve. Under Mike Babcock so far this season the leafs tend to bounce back after bad defensive games. However, only the hockey Gods know whether the buds are a going to become a playoff team this year. As leaf fans let's hope the Hockey Gods favor us this season.