October in Toronto for the past couple of seasons has been dominated by the Blue Jays. It also isn’t November yet, so we actually can’t look forward to the other team who calls the ACC home. So that must mean it’s the annual kickoff of the NHL’s Cleveland Browns. The 2016 Maple Leafs start up…right now. So this will be the super concise preview you’ve been looking for without the regular TSN or Sportsnet dominated media fingers covering them.
First off this team is young. Eleven guys are under 24. The complete strip down and overall of the Leafs looks like it is coming together. The years of grit and whatever the hell “toughness” means are gone, and begins the era of the Leafs joining the rest of the NHL with a team of offensive skill and speed. Matthews seems to be the real deal and worth the tank after his coming out party during the World Cup. Morgan Rielly needs to be in everyone’s prayers this year because this defense that has been assembled will be undoubtably the weakest part of this team. When Matt Hunwick and Roman Polak are in your top 4 pairing, you know it’s gonna be ROUGH most nights. However, Nikita Zaitsev looks to transition from the KHL to the NHL which I think is the most intresting storyline to watch with this group. Can his quick success in the KHL where he was an all-star, make Jake Gardiner a intresting trade asset. And finally, can Freddy Anderson be the elusive goalie that this town finally gets. Ever since Ed Belfour was forced to fly out of here. Nobody except James Reimer has come close to owning this position.
Unfortunately Leaf fans. It’s gonna be another long winter with at TON of losses. But at least this year the blueprint and the foundation of this team can finally be watchable again.