- The Toronto Maple Leafs entered Monday on a three-game win streak
- Toronto’s Stanley Cup odds currently sit outside the top ten
- With Frederik Andersen suffering an upper-body injury, do the Leafs present any value?
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been all over the place this season.
After sputtering out to a 9-10-4 start, the Leafs fired Mike Babcock. Over the next 15 games, they would go 11-4-0, good enough to be a top five team.
Now the Leafs are up to 41 points since then, running just behind the league’s best. But is it enough to put them in the Stanley Cup conversation?
2020 Stanley Cup Odds
|Tampa Bay Lightning||32-15-5||69||+750|
|St. Louis Blues||31-14-8||70||+1000|
|Vegas Golden Knights||27-20-7||61||+1800|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||28-18-7||63||+2000|
Odds and standings taken Feb 3.
The Toronto Maple Leafs own the 12th-best 2020 Stanley Cup odds, which is just where the roller coaster has decided to settle.
After opening the season at +1000, they sat at +700 (on average) on October 26th. Then it was down to +1600, up to +900, and up and down again.
They slid to +2200 at the end of January, and now can’t seem to get out of the +2000 neighborhood.
Keefe Leads Toronto Maple Leafs Turnaround
It wasn’t much of a secret that the Toronto Maple Leafs had soured on Mike Babcock.
Leafs improve to 18-7-3 under Sheldon Keefe, a 114-point pace.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) January 30, 2020
When he was fired on November 20 the offense was clicking (eighth in goals for) but the defense was lacking, allowing the second-most goals against.
The initial possession numbers were good, but they were allowing the fourth-most shots against, and the fifth-most high-danger chances against.
Maple Leafs’ Offense Since Nov. 20
|52.94%||High Danger Chances %||7th|
Since then, there’s been a gradual improvement in shots against (12th-most) and significant ground made in high-danger chances allowed (14th-most).
But while those numbers have improved, the play in net has fallen behind.
Injury to Andersen Could Doom Toronto Maple Leafs
The biggest wrench possible was thrown into the Toronto Maple Leafs’ playoff plans on Monday night: an injury to Frederik Andersen.
And not just any injury, but the ever-mysterious upper-body injury.
Frederik Andersen is done for the night with an upper-body injury, according to @LeafsPR
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) February 4, 2020
Backup goalie has been the Leafs’ biggest need this season. And now it’s more important than ever that they find a goalie capable of carrying some of the starter’s share.
Michael Hutchinson’s last six games have been better than his first seven, but that’s not saying much. He allowed at least four goals in six of his first seven appearances. Including Monday, he’s allowed more than three goals just twice in seven games.
Who’s Available for Toronto Maple Leafs at Trade Deadline?
The Leafs have extremely limited cap space, so making a move for an experienced goalie could be tricky. They are also short on assets for any potential trade.
Outside of a team holding high value for Kasperi Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson, the Leafs would have to dip into their prospect pool for a significant asset like Pavel Georgiev. Even then, the Leafs don’t have a 2020 first round pick. They have a second, Columbus’ third, two fourths, and three in the final two rounds of the draft.
Leafs 2020 trade deadline to-do list:
– Package off Kapanen/Johnsson for a top 4 defenceman
– Package off Bracco to get a gritty, bottom 6 forward
– Acquire a backup goalie if possible
– Move out Ceci's contract if possible
It's that simple, really. #BellLetsTalk
— Michael (@TheLeafsIMO) January 29, 2020
There are a handful of names out there, but all come with pretty significant cap hits. The lowest number belongs to Ryan Miller.
— First Up (@FirstUp1050) December 12, 2019
Other names the Leafs could target include Jimmy Howard and Robin Lehner. But they’ll need Detroit and Chicago to do them a favor to make the numbers work if they can’t open up any cap space.
No Freddie, No Value for Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs have questions on defense too, but without Andersen you have to hope that the eventual return of Morgan Rielly will be enough.
If Toronto can’t figure something out in Andersen’s absence though, it won’t matter.
The Andersen injury creates a significant question in Toronto’s crease. And if they can’t figure out a band-aid solution until Andersen is healthy, they aren’t worth the money, no matter the odds.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.