By Cole Parkinson
I get teased all the time about how the Maple Leafs won’t win a cup in my lifetime but I’m here to say it’s going to happen. For my last sports column, I figured I’d go out with a bang and predict that the Toronto Maple Leafs will win a Stanley Cup in the next five years. It’s been since 1967 and even the Chicago Cubs were able to break their 108 drought, so it’s only a matter of time for the Leafs.
First round exit after first round exit is a tough thing for Leafs Nation, no doubt, but this is the best core they’ve had since the early 2000s and probably the best overall team since 1993. A team built around Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, John Tavares, and Morgan Rielly has to be able to break through. I know plenty of fans complain about the current NHL playoff format, but there’s zero excuses left for this team. They’ve flamed out in the first round against Boston twice, Columbus, Montreal, and Tampa Bay — all in Game 7 (or Game 5 in the bubble round against Columbus), so sooner or later you’d think they’d figured it out.
With a pretty good tandem in Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov, I think they can compete with anyone. Murray’s health is obviously a concern, but at least we’ve seen what he can do in the playoffs. And while neither are in that upper echelon of goaltending royalty, they aren’t bums either. Samsonov has been stellar for the most part and Murray has been really good when healthy. If they both can continue to play well in front of this strong Leafs team, I like their chances.
Their defence has also been incredibly strong in the regular season. Sure, the playoffs are a totally different animal, but I’ve liked what I’ve seen. The growth from Timothy Liljegren and Rasmus Sandin is great news for the Leafs and while they lost Jake Muzzin early in the season, they’ve weathered the storm. TJ Brodie, Mark Giordano, Justin Holl, and Rielly have all been pretty solid this year. There’s ups and downs with any season, but I don’t think it’s unfair to say there has been a ton more ups than downs.
To read the full story, pick up a Taber Times issue or subscribe to an ePaper digital subscription! You can sign up for digital or traditional subscriptions on tabertimes.com by clicking subscribe under ePaper on the home page.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.