2023 Toronto Maple Leafs Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert NHL Picks
Summary of last season
The Maple Leafs ended their curse of first round exits last season before being eliminated by the Panthers in a fluke of a series. Toronto did now show up to play at all in that series, as they averaged just two GF/G. However, in the regular season, this was a very balanced team that dominated just about every night. They finished with a +57-goal differential, which was 5th best in the league.
Star C Auston Matthews did not see the same level of success that he posted in the 2022 season, as he finished third on the team with 85 points, 21 points less than his ’22 campaign that included one less game. RW Mitchell Marner would lead the team with 99 points, while fellow RW William Nylander finished second with 87 points and was tied with Matthews with the team lead in goals (40). C John Tavares also reached the 80-point mark for Toronto last season. And all four are back for this season.
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Seasons come and go, so now it’s time to take a look at what we can expect from the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2023-24:
LW Michael Bunting left for Carolina, D Justin Holl is joining a much-improved Detroit team, C Alexander Kerfoot went to Arizona, and C Ryan O’Reilly and D Luke Schenn went to Nashville. That is a notable exodus. However, do not fret Leafs fans, your GM did a great job keeping his core four together and adding plenty of pieces around them.
To make up for all the departed production, Toronto brought in veteran heavy-hitter Ryan Reaves and D John Klingberg (33 points) from Minnesota, F Tyler Bertuzzi (BOS/DET), F Max Domi (56 points with CHI and DAL), F Dylan Gambrell (OTT), G Martin Jones (SEA), and young D Simon Benoit (ANA).
The offseason additions- We all know how dominant the Core Four is. If one of those guys has an off night, the other three will pick him up. Toronto did lose a lot of names from last year’s dominant roster, but its quite possible that they got even better with the replacements. Domi and Bertuzzi could be huge additions for the Leafs, while Reaves and Klingberg provide excellent depth and leadership potential.
Ilya Samsonov had a career year in his first time in a Toronto uniform. He would go on to finish 27-10-5, allowing just 2.33 GA/G and posting a .919 SV%. However, all that was dulled over when he was benched in the second round of the playoffs last year. Joseph Woll and Martin Jones should prove to be decent backups, but Samsonov will need to find his stride from the regular season. This is the weak point of this team.
Key Schedule Stretch
March 24th-April 17th- This stretch contains 13 games and features 11 playoff probable opponents. The only two easy games to end the season is a home game against Washington and a trip to Montreal. The remaining 11 games see the Leafs on the road in five and home for six. The road games include trips to Carolina, Buffalo, New Jersey, Florida, and Tampa Bay, while the home matchups are New Jersey, Florida, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and New Jersey. Not an easy stretch to end the season at all.
Stanley Cup Champions - +900
Conference Winner - +550
Division Winner - +200
To Make the Playoffs – Yes -700
Hart Trophy – Auston Matthews- +1600
This is the best team in the league. They have incredible depth, plenty of offense, and a goalie situation that isn’t completely disgusting. This team is ready to break the early playoff exit stigma entirely. I foresee Toronto hoisting up Stanley at season’s end. Matthews could find his ’22 production again and could give McDavid a run for his money to be the league’s MVP. Regardless of the odds, the potential is there. And there are even some favorable odds on Marner reaching that level of play as well. This is the best team in the league, period.
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