It is just around the corner – the 2010/11 Maple Leafs season is on the horizon! From coast to coast in Canada, Leafs Nation has collectively begun holding their breath. So many questions to be answered…will there be a win in the first 5 games? 10? Will the goaltending and defense hold up? Who’s going to score the goals aside from Phil ‘the thrill’ Kessel? Will the special teams climb out of the basement too?
With the Leafs kicking off the upcoming season this Thursday at home to the Montreal Canadiens, it is imperative that the team coming off last season’s 29th place finish come crashing out of the gate playing inspired hockey. The Leafs – who performed well as a group during the preseason will be in tough to crack the top eight in the National Hockey Leagues Eastern Conference, but it is certainly not out of the question.
The top line of Versteeg-Bozak-Kessel has found almost instant chemistry and proves to be a crafty, creative and VERY fast unit, complimented nicely by the McArthur-Grabovski-Kulemin second unit.
Improved goaltending and tighter defence will be the difference between playoff glory and full usage of a Clublink golf membership.
It is expected Brian Burke and Ron Wilson will announce the final roster cuts Monday, October 4. It is almost certain Nazem Kadri will cross the hall at MasterCard Centre and join the Marlies, but it is encouraging to see the off-ice growth and maturity Kadri is showing. He hasn’t earned a spot on the big club yet, and he is not going to get it until he does.
Mike Zigomanis, Tim Brent, Jay Rosehill, Christian Hanson, John Mitchell and Luca Caputi will no doubt be close to the phone today. Luca Caputi has had the strongest camp of the players mentioned, but based on his position may start the year on the farm; this kid has excited during preseason and will no doubt be at or near the top of the injury call-up list. John Mitchell has had a mind-bogglingly lacklustre camp – hard to believe this guy didn’t come in chomping at the bit to re-claim his spot in the Leafs prospect pecking order.
With the cap issue in New Jersey, it has been widely speculated in various outlets that Brian Burke and Lou Lamoriello have been in talks regarding a trade. Something’s gotta give in the swamp before the season starts, and it’s going to have to be substantial. As reported by Eklund on October 3, Zubrus, Langenbrunner and even Elias’s name has been mentioned as possible tradable assets from NJD. Just over 3 days left to pare down the roster…
Check back here leading up to the season opener for a re-cap on the final cuts, season outlook and a preview of the Leafs-Habs season opener.
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About the Author
Written by Mike De Petrillo
Leafs fan; former OHL LW; Live in Toronto