In what was called "blockbuster commerce" with the Los Angeles Kings, Toronto apple leaves finally acquired their defender, coming in the form of Jake Muzzin. Muzzin did not come cheap, it costs Sean Durbi, Carl Grundstrum, and the election of the first round in 2019. For all things, it was a fair trade for both parties. Some even went so far as to call this trade "homework" for Toronto. They could just be right. There are some experts who call this trade to win the Toronto Cup. Let's slow down there.
Yes, Leafs finally got this two-way defensive player that he needed so much. Muzzin brings the Stanley Cup experience, a strong game on all sides, and another good attitude to add to the locker. He is not afraid to throw a hit and can play on the right, which is a good thing considering what Toronto's weakness is. No, he does not shoot with his right hand. No, he can not be "real" top-two defenders, but for the price, Leafs can not go wrong.
They now, for all intents and purposes, boast a defensive corp that looks something like this:
Morgan Riley – Jake Muzzin
Jake Gardiner – Nikita Zaitsev
Travis Dermot – Ron Hainy
This is one of the best back lines that Leafs have had in years, perhaps even decades. That being said, this does not mean that they will win the Cup.
Toronto still has several pieces of the mosaic
The truth is, on paper, this list of Leafs is the best thing that has been around for a long time. Austin Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, Morgan Riley, Frederick Andersen and Jake Mouzin's new addition made him a pretty solid, definitely "contender" by himself. It does not mention the names like Kasperi Kapanen, Zach Himan, and Nazem Kadri.
One thing Toronto misses and maybe the time of the playoffs is the density. That's what I mean, a player, like Nazem Kadri, who can be found under the skin of the other team and to protect the stars of Leafs.
If you look at teams like Washington and Pittsburgh, who during the past few seasons won the Stanley Cup, they played. The major cities were Tom Wilson, maybe sometimes too violent, but still did his job. Nick Bonino he seemed to be able to encourage the penguins when he needed it too. They may not have won the Cup for their teams, but they definitely helped the way to victory to move more easily.
Who should direct Toronto?
Apparently with about a month to the deadline, Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas he will still hit some tires. Perhaps he will shoot at the first six defender or another type of Zah Himan. Someone to consider is Philadelphia Flyers Radko Gudas.
Gudas is a good season and would fit well in Toronto. According to Cap Friendly, Gudas' cap in the next season (2018-19 and 2019-20) amounts to $ 3.350 million. Maybe if Toronto could somehow convince Philly or another team to take over the deal for Zaytsev, "Maple Leafs" could quit the deal. A move like this will help Leafs be a bit tougher for the playoffs and help them get that edge in a team like Boston Bruins or Tampa Bay Lighting.
Toronto as they stand now
Toronto, as they sit now, are a great team that could have a good playoff run if they manage to overcome Bruins and / or light. Who knows, maybe, if Montreal continues to play as he plays, may the list of "maple" coincide with them in the first round? It is something that needs to be kept in the back of their minds.
Frederic Andersen rested and, fortunately, this year is not over. That said, the backup goalkeeper Gareth Sparks sometimes is uncertain and there are some fans a little nervous. In hindsight, keeping Curtis McKellini could be struck by that fear from the back door, but many thought that Sparks deserved his chance and now he has it. Besides, in the playoffs, everyone knows that Andersen will get a sign. As long as Sparks can win 70-75 percent of the games he plays, everything needs to be fine.
Does Toronto have a Boston number?
If we look at the documents and graphs of depth, this should not be an issue. Toronto, by all means, should be able to beat the team like Boston, but just like the Ohio State has a Michigan number at college football, Boston has the Toronto number in hockey. Fortunately for Maple Leafs, this is the year that Boston should have. Really out of Brad Marshand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pasternak line, Boston is really a version of the poor face in Toronto. When it comes to the playoffs, Boston is coming to play, and as a fight, everyone can win with one shot.
Eastern Conference: Tampa probably at the top
They call me "suspicious Thomas," but I still think a team like Tampa Bay has an advantage over Toronto. They have experience, have depth and have a better goalkeeper. Andrej Vasilevski, can sometimes look like the best netminder in the NHL. Yes, he has his ups and downs in the playoffs, but this is said, if Tampa achieves three or more goals, he will close the door. It is not an insult to Andersen, who is the best elevator keeper for some time. Andersen is the team's MVP during the last few seasons, and the League in 2017-18 does not make it to the playoffs without him. That does not mean that these teams do not match well beyond the target. It's not to say that Tampa flat destroys Toronto. To be realistic, the series should be close.
The question is, does Toronto have what it takes to beat the best of the league? I still do not sell. Leafs Nation was severely hit by a disagreement, and the old saying is "history is bound to repeat itself." Why should this year be different? It's time for the lists to prove to me that I am wrong.
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