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Poll: Will the Leafs make the playoffs this year?

Aug 25, 2014, 2:57 PM EST

Phil Kessel AP

Several NHL teams failed to make the postseason last year — 14 of them, to be exact — but none failed quite so dramatically as the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Leafs, you’ll recall, were in good shape for the majority of the 2013-14 campaign…until a late-season slide saw them go 2-12-0 over their final 14 games, completing a stunning fall from grace (or, more specifically, a stunning fall from second place in the Atlantic Division.)

It marked the second consecutive season Toronto went out like a house of cards. The year prior, the Leafs famously blew a 4-1 lead in Game 7 of their opening-round playoff series with Boston — though, to hear players explain it, ’13-14 hurt worse. At least against the Bruins, the Leafs were in the playoffs.

“Losing to Boston was hard, but this was painful,” Cody Franson said, per the Toronto Star. “We started playing some of our worst hockey the tighter it got. That’s not what good teams do.”

The Leafs seemed to take Franson’s words to heart. Good teams don’t do that, so the club set about making itself over. All of Randy Carlyle’s assistants were fired; Brendan Shanahan was hired as president and wunderkind Kyle Dubas was brought aboard as assistant GM.

On the ice, the team beefed up its forward group by adding Leo Komarov, Daniel Winnik, David Booth, Mike Santorelli and Petri Kontiola. The defense was given an overhaul by adding Stephane Robidas while trading Carl Gunnarsson for Roman Polak. (Tim Gleason was also bought out of his contract.)

On paper, these changes should be enough for the Leafs challenge for a playoff spot, given what was already in place. There’s some real talent in the core forward group of Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk, Joffrey Lupul and Nazem Kadri, and Carlyle has vowed to put much more emphasis on defensive awareness and consistency. In goal, the Jonathan Bernier-James Reimer tandem is solid.

But can the Leafs overcome…themselves? This is a group now synonymous with collapse, and questions remain about the leadership group (most notably Dion Phaneuf, who was the target of a potential captaincy stripping this offseason.)

With that said, let’s go to the poll…

  1. jpelle82 - Aug 25, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    3rd option shouldve been “Playoffs! Playoffs????!”

    • jpelle82 - Aug 25, 2014 at 3:16 PM

  2. nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 25, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    As a lifelong Leafs fan, I must point out that it’s a very complicated situation. One of the crucial factors is whether other teams will also be trying to make the playoffs, which would dramatically impact Toronto’s chances.

    • kaptaanamerica - Aug 25, 2014 at 3:55 PM

      lols

  3. polegojim - Aug 25, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    Yes they will… they have the talent… and just lacked some leadership.

    • kaptaanamerica - Aug 25, 2014 at 4:36 PM

      really and what leadership are you referring to? did they get this leadership in the off season? you sound like you’re 9 years old or thereabouts…

      • withseidelinn - Aug 25, 2014 at 4:57 PM

        Calling someone a 9 year old with grade 1 level grammar. Irony at its finest.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 25, 2014 at 7:59 PM

        This is most likely a coin flip between the Wings and Leafs. Both had material injury issues, Wings more so. Neither made off season moves moves that say “seriously improved” Wings are unlikely to be this devasted again, but were unable to fill key needs, such as a right-hand shooting d-man or two. But perhaps they will at the trade deadline for someone with an expiring contract.

        Leaves somewhat improved in goal over the last year, and maybe their team is now more of a fit together than a hodge-podge of mindset/skillsets.

        Hard to do a public coin flip on-line. I don’t see them in anything higher than a wild card.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 25, 2014 at 8:04 PM

        Guys, two bad posts – please do some re-assessment.

        1st, can we not rise above name calling?

        2nd, Do we REALLY need grammar police? Big concept here – this is INFORMAL communication. Should not thought and research profoundly trump grammar?

        Perhaps I missed something, but I don’t think this is an English tutoring or assessment website. I think it’s actually supposed to be about hockey.

      • kaptaanamerica - Aug 26, 2014 at 12:39 AM

        Agreed enduser. I retract my point about the person sounding like a nine year old.

        Leadership on the ice is what counts. Leafs havn’t acquired any.

        Wings have character and leadership. Leafs will miss the playoffs. Book it.

    • polegojim - Aug 25, 2014 at 10:56 PM

      @kaptainA… : ) funny, I was 9 once… missing leadership isn’t always on the ice… they had ‘ice’ talent.
      @endusers… I could agree with that… but wild card is still making the playoffs. I actually fear more for my Red Wings…
      grammarically speaking.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 25, 2014 at 11:29 PM

        Nice, I take some keystroke shortcuts because I actually can’t touch-type. So I just said Wings and you did not blast me.

        What I have noticed on this site, and also Yahoo game threads is that the Red Wings and Blackhawks fans have an unusually collegial mutual respect.

        Scott

    • justinpecora50 - Aug 26, 2014 at 12:37 AM

      Leadership? They were 2-28-3 when trailing after 2 periods, constantly gave up a barrel fun of shots, and did nothing in the off season to at least attempt to fix something. Shanahan’s going right into the fire and if they don’t correct giving up 40 plus shots a night, .500 might be reaching.

      • polegojim - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:35 AM

        @justin – The question was… will they make the playoffs… they didn’t miss by much last year and have the same level of talent.

        I guess that’s why they still play the season, even after our comments are logged.

      • justinpecora50 - Aug 28, 2014 at 12:46 PM

        @polegojim….no I don’t think they make they the playoffs. They made no efforts to help their D, and they need to get better on the penalty kill and a few other incidentals. They missed the post season by 9 points last year that’s not really “just missing”.

  4. jason9696 - Aug 25, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    I’m a huge Leafs fan so I really hope they make the playoffs this season. But unfortunately I had to pick “no” on the poll. I see them finishing 9th or 10th in the conference. I hope I’m wrong.

  5. redwings4013 - Aug 25, 2014 at 6:40 PM

    “It’s there year they’re gonna win the cup” said every leafs fan ever for the past 40 years😂 they won’t make the playoffs give it a few decades

    • jason9696 - Aug 25, 2014 at 6:42 PM

      As a Red Wing fan you should have some sympathy for us Leaf fans. Your team always makes the playoffs. Or so it seems.

  6. bullwinkle88 - Aug 25, 2014 at 7:30 PM

    They won’t make the playoffs…they’d love to have Connor McDavid too much.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 25, 2014 at 8:05 PM

      Don’t think they fall that badly.

      • bullwinkle88 - Aug 25, 2014 at 8:44 PM

        They did last year, and now they have more of a reason.

      • cheliostwin - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:50 AM

        Every team that doesn’t make the playoffs is included in the lottery. They recently adjusted the odds for the teams involved; the three worst teams will have slightly worse odds in the next draft, the other 11 non-playoff teams will have slightly better odds of getting that first pick. Yes, a team that just misses making the playoffs will still have a very low chance of getting that first pick, but there still is a chance.

    • polegojim - Aug 25, 2014 at 10:58 PM

      Their late fall proved they had the talent most of the season and only needed better toughness at the end.

  7. jacketsfan7 - Aug 26, 2014 at 5:45 AM

    Watch the leafs tank the year for Connor mcdavid and end up with the number 2 pick😂😂😂😂😂😂

    • Hard to BeLeaf - Aug 26, 2014 at 6:04 AM

      Eichel is also good. Works for me.

  8. clpalermo94 - Aug 26, 2014 at 6:59 AM

    No they are smoke and mirrors

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