**Rating system for “Plus/Minus” Series**
+3 = Major Upgrade
+2 = Upgrade
+1 = Slight Upgrade
0 = Same as prior year
-1 = Slight Dowgrade
-2 = Downgrade
-3 = Major Downgrade
Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
2010-11: 85 points, #10 in Eastern Conference
Returning: James Reimer, Jonas Gustavsson
Departures: JS Giguere
The way I look at it, the Leafs lose their #2 goalie, but his starts (26 last year) will go to both Reimer, who is better, and Gustavsson, who is worse. This offsets as having virtually the same performance from their goaltenders in 2011-12.
Returning: Dion Phaneuf, Luke Schenn, Keith Aulie, Mike Komisarek, Carl Gunnarsson
Arrivals: John-Michael Liles, Cody Franson
Departures: Brett Lebda
Replacing Lebda with Liles and Franson looks phenomenal, but it is a bit misleading. This study is based on how teams ended the season versus how they will start in 2011-12. In reality, Liles is replacing Kaberle (traded during 2010-11 season) and Franson is replacing Beauchemin (also traded), so the +2 rating is a bit generous.
Returning: Phil Kessel, Mikhail Grabovski, Clarke MacArthur, Nikolai Kulemin, Joffrey Lupul, Colby Armstrong, Nazem Kadri, Tyler Bozak, Mike Brown, Colton Orr, Jay Rosehill
Arrivals: Tim Connolly, Philippe Dupuis, Matt Lombardi (does not count, expected to be on LTIR)
Departures: Tim Brent, Frederik Sjostrom
While I feel Tim Connolly was drastically overpaid by the Leafs, he is still a significant upgrade to their top 6. Factor in the expected improvement of Nazem Kadri and you could argue that this could easily be a max rating of +3. Dupuis as the fourth line center over Tim Brent is an even swap.
OVERALL RATING: +4
2011-12 prediction: #7-#9 in Eastern Conference
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.