Praise the lord for Toronto, they finally get their native John Tavares. As great as this is for Toronto, for some reason I can’t look at this line up and say, “Yeah Toronto to the Cup for sure.” Can you say that with confidence? I don’t know but for me it is not that black and white. The Leafs yes have an elite number one-two punch down the middle, but they still have some holes that need some patching.
While yes their top six looks like Marleau-Matthews-Marner , Hyman-Tavares-Nylander. For some reason I would rather see Marner slotted next to Tavares than Nylander. And can we seriously say that Patrick Marleau at 38 years old turning 39 is going to be that guy on line one to add will that much fire power. We saw Marleau struggle a bit last year at one point although he did produce 47 points in 82 games, to do it again at 39 is going to be even harder. Plus if Matthews or Marner are not healthy I don’t see this type of production from Marleau, and even so if either of them are not healthy it hurts Toronto a ton. Zach Hyman gives me a tiny concern I mean the kids highest total is 40 points coming last year, he’ll have to do that and more next year. Nyalnder does not concern me a whole lot but at points he shows his strengths and weaknesses. I know I am shooting into an empty field right now but while the Leafs top six and even top 9 is very good. Their defense is a major concern.
While yes Jake Gardiner and Morgan Reilly are good I don’t think they are a solid 1, 2 option on the backend. Plus with an aging Ron Hainsey and inexperienced Nikita Zaistev the Leafs are relying a lot on young defenseman to step up big time. Connor Carrick and Travis Dermott on the back end as well, two young guns that have a lot to prove to the Leafs. The Leafs back end and Frederick Anderson in the playoffs is what concerns me the most.
Yes, the Leafs are a much better team now. They did lose James Van Reimsydk and Tyler Bozak, as much as we don’t think those two are good. They are solid forwards on any NHL team. Adding Tavares is HUGE, but I think some people are getting on their high horse saying the Leafs won the Cup already.