- The Toronto Maple Leafs have lost to the Boston Bruins in the first round of each of the last two postseasons
- The Leafs haven’t reached the second round since 2004
- After a very positive offseason, is Toronto primed for a Stanley Cup run in 2020?
The Toronto Maple Leafs have inched ahead of the Boston Bruins in terms of the 2020 Stanley Cup odds. It’s not the first time we’ve seen this as the Leafs were among the preseason favorites to win the Stanley Cup last year but ended up falling short to the Bruins in the playoffs … again.
Which of the two teams is the best bet going forward?
Odds to Win 2020 Stanley Cup
|Team||Odds at BetOnline*|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+700|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+1200|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+1200|
|St. Louis Blues||+1600|
*Odds taken 08/16/19.
Bruins Have Edged Leafs, Not Dominated Them
For all of the talk of how the Bruins have owned the Leafs in the playoffs, let’s put this in perspective: the Bruins have won the last two first-round series in Game 7.
Is it disheartening for the Leafs? Of course. At the same time, it’s not as if they’re getting swept in these series.
The point here is there isn’t much between the teams and, sometimes, it’s merely a matter of luck or a bounce here or there. Boston has had the upper hand and they deserve credit, but these series could have gone either way.
Leafs Have Impressive Offseason
The Leafs have had a very productive offseason … so far. They re-signed Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson, acquired Codi Ceci, Tyson Barrie, and Alex Kerfoot via trade, and signed Jason Spezza. The reason for the “so far” is because the team still hasn’t re-signed Mitch Marner, who is a restricted free agent.
If the Leafs do, in fact, re-sign Marner and bring back Jake Gardiner, who also remains unsigned, that’s a top-notch offseason. Even if Gardiner is a goner, the rest of the moves still add up an ‘A’ grade for the Leafs.
Bruins Have Quiet Offseason
While the Leafs were quite busy, the Bruins sat back and chilled. That’s mostly because their entire roster, the one that just went to the Stanley Cup finals, is intact for next season.
Other than pickups like Brett Ritchie and Par Lindholm, and letting Marcus Johansson and Noah Accari walk, this team really didn’t do much. That’s not a bad thing as they didn’t have much to do.
Bruins, Leafs Likely To Meet Again In The First Round
Because of the NHL’s current playoff format, the Leafs and Bruins are likely to meet in the first round once again. To avoid a first-round meeting, one will have to either finish worse than third in the Atlantic or unseat the Tampa Bay Lightning for first.
Remember, the Lightning just piled up 128 regular-season points last season.
What’s The Best Bet?
The Leafs have been mighty close to beating the Bruins in the first round of the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and, whether they faceoff again or not, I like the Leafs at +900 to win the Stanley Cup.
Remember that the Bruins have played a lot of extra hockey these last couple of seasons and they’ve got the older team. They’re not over the hill, but Patrice Bergeron is 34, David Krejci is 33, Brad Marchand is 31 and Zdeno Chara is 43. The Leafs stars are on the right side of 30 and that could be a big factor.
Guys like Marner, Tavares, Kapanen and Hyman all had muted efforts in their first-round series with Boston, yet the series still went seven games.
With an improved blueline, better team chemistry, and more experience, this team should finally be primed to take down Boston and contend for the Cup.
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