Apr 12, 2013, 9:54 AM EDT
There’s still eight games left — an opportunity for the Toronto Maple Leafs to pull off a stunning collapse for the second straight season — but right now their entry into the playoffs appears to be all-but inevitable.
They have a 99.7% chance of still being around after April 27, according to the Sports Stats Club. Toronto has a five-point lead on the ninth place Winniepg Jets despite the fact that the Leafs have played in two fewer games.
It’s been a long, painful trip since they last participated in a postseason contest on May 4, 2004. They finished two points shy of a playoff berth in 2006 and then one point short in 2007.
The Leafs got the second overall pick in 2009-10 — only not really because they traded it to Boston before the start of that season as part of the Phil Kessel deal. That addition that might have been all that stood in the way of Toronto finishing dead last in the NHL and thus potentially drafting Taylor Hall instead of the Edmonton Oilers.
After their collapse in 2011-12, Leafs minority owner Lawrence Tanenbaum issued an apology, which led to CBC’s Rex Murphy’s scathing response:
And yet that chapter of the Leafs, led principally by youngsters and players that former GM Brian Burke acquired via trades, are on the brink of putting at least one embarrassing streak to an end. Of course, there’s still the issue of Toronto’s over four-decade old Stanley Cup drought…
- Kessel trade shows Leafs are trying to ‘build this thing the right way’ 6
- Green signs with Red Wings — 3 years, $18 million 18
- ‘It’s hard to find players like Phil Kessel’ 30
- PHT’s 2015 free agent frenzy tracker 36
- Kassian traded to Habs for Prust; Hodgson signs with Preds 13
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins 125
- Oilers get Sekera for six years, closing in on Letestu 7
- Avalanche sign veteran d-man Beauchemin for three years 6
- Neely was ‘surprised’ that Hamilton didn’t want to sign with Bruins 15
- NHL, Coyotes deny report that team is moving to Vegas 32
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins (125)
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (93)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks (75)