|Stephane Robidas – D||Dave Bolland – C|
|Leo Komarov – LW||Mason Raymond – LW|
|David Booth – LW||Jay McClement – C|
|Mike Santorelli – C||Nikolai Kulemin – LW|
|Matt Frattin – RW||Tim Gleason – D|
|Daniel Winnik – LW||Drew MacIntre – G|
|Jerry D’Amigo – RW|
|TJ Brennan – D|
The Toronto Maple Leafs were on their way to back-to-back playoff appearances, before they went 2-12-0 down the stretch and missed the playoffs by nine points.
It was not the way the Maple Leafs were hoping to finish the season, but they will be back in 2014-15 looking to qualify for the postseason for the 66th time in franchise history. After a disappointing season due to injury, Toronto let Dave Bolland walk in free agency. They also lost Nikolai Kulemin, Mason Raymond and Jay McClement. But, Toronto attempted to fix those holes by bringing former Leaf Leo Komarov back from the KHL as well as signing David Booth, Mike Santorelli, Daniel Winnik and defenseman Stephane Robidas.
Up front, the top-6 looks relatively the same. They are led by sniper Phil Kessel and budding star James van Riemsdyk. Tyler Bozak and Nazem Kadri steady the top-2 lines with consistent play down the middle, but the Leafs will need a big-time bounce-back season from David Clarkson and a healthy season from Joffrey Lupul. Kessel will be a top-15 fantasy pick, and should be a point-per-game player with a shot at 40 goals. JVR continues to impress and as he gets ready to start his sixth NHL season, he should be in for another 30-30 season, making him a great 5th or 6th round selection.
On the blueline, they are led by captain Dion Phaneuf, who has become a 30-point player in Toronto, versus the 50-60 point player he was in the early part of his career with Calgary. Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly are both young, up-and-coming defensemen who will be looking to have breakout seasons in 2014-15. Gardiner is the better fantasy option with his elite skating ability and his willingness to join the rush, but the 20-year-old Rielly likes to get involved in the offence as well. He had 27 points (2G / 25A) in 73 games in his rookie season, so expect a 30-plus point season from each of them this year.
Between the pipes, the Maple Leafs have both Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer returning, despite Reimer asking for a trade. The starting job is firmly in Bernier’s grasp and he should start 55-plus games if he is able to stay healthy this season. Reimer had a horrible year in 2013-14, but he should have no problem bouncing back, but his backup role limits him to spot-start duty.
Look to the Draft (Ranking Maple Leafs’ Fantasy Players)
- Phil Kessel – RW
- James van Riemsdyk – LW
- Jonathan Bernier – G
- Joffrey Lupul
- Nazem Kadri – C
- Tyler Bozak – C
- Dion Phaneuf – D
- Jake Gardiner – D
- James Reimer – G
- Morgan Rielly – D
Click HERE for the Maple Leafs’s potential line combinations heading into the 2014-15 season.
Season prediction: The Maple Leafs will finish fifth in the Atlantic Division, narrowly missing out on the postseason for the second straight season.
Other Season Previews: Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames,Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars,Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators,Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning
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