Hey everybody I’m back with a short, OK maybe not so short, list of Christmas wishes for the Leafs but first I want to wish each and every one of you a merry Christmas and a happy new year. As much as we all love the Leafs, in reality there are way more important things in life. I hope that all you plans/dreams for this upcoming year come true.
Now, if I were to have one wish come true for this new year, it would be for the Leafs to win the Stanley Cup. Although I don’t think that will happen this year, recently I put out a poll.
The actual result was pretty split, last time I checked it was 51% for the guarantee and 49% take your chances. Personally I don’t know how you pass up the guarantee when there are no guarantees in life, but I’m sure there are many factors that pulled people more towards taking their chances. Hopefully not too many fans from other fan bases voted on this.
I would think one of the factors would be if you’re in your thirties or fourties, and have been waiting for what seems like forever for the Leafs to win a cup. You just want the cup and would trade ANYONE for that guaranteed Stanley Cup experience.
Another factor would be in you’re at an age and you’ve seen all things ‘Leafy’ happen (in other words if it could go wrong it will) then you take the guarantee as well. I’m sure Washington, San Jose, St Louis and Vancouver, were all pretty confident they would win a cup with some of the teams they had in the past as well.
I’m sure there’s a small minority of people who would rather the team keep their favourite player than win a cup. I would like to think that’s not the case, but it’s not for me to judge.
Well enough with that because I could go on forever. So here is my Christmas wish list for the Leafs.
1. For Auston Matthews to stay healthy for the rest of the season and the playoffs. As much as the team can be competitive without him the lineup, they are wayyyy better with him in. Especially when it comes to match ups. Other teams will put their best D against Matthews and that frees up Kadri or Marner to do some damage on their lines.
2. Speaking of Marner, my second wish is for him to keep playing at the same gear he’s had the last couple of games. He’s been OK throughout the season even though his goal totals were down, but now he’s got that ‘shot out of a canon’ look to his game that seemed a bit lost there for a while.
3. The third is that Nylander shoots more, and with more accuracy. I hope coach Babcock keeps him on Matthews wing for the remainder of the season. His shot seemed a lot more lethal last year. Maybe his season gets better the deeper it gets? Like last year? That’s my hope anyway.
4. My fourth wish deals with Hyman and Komorov. I keeps seeing the endless debates on my TL about these two. I like Hyman on the first line, but I would like to see Babcock experiment a little by putting Marleau on Matthews’ left once in a while 5 on 5. Maybe for a 5 games stretch just to see how that goes.
Then move Hyman to Kadri’s line. Hyman is so versatile that he would do really well on a checking line. He could use his assets extremely well in that checking role. Which would then, at least in my mind, drop Komorov to the fourth line.
I think Komorov gets way too much TOI. He should be more in the 12-14 minute mark and shouldn’t be on the PP as far as I’m concerned. He’s great on the PK. Keep his legs fresh for that which in turn makes the PK as a whole that much better.
After all this, maybe it screws things up or maybe things get better. If there’s no noticeable difference then I think the lines should go back to what they were and spread out the offense. But keep Leo lower in ice time to help him be less worn down by playoff time.
5. My fifth wish is that somewhere along the way the Leafs get an upgrade on defence before the trade deadline. It doesn’t need to be a top end guy, but someone who can be top 4. Putting that player in, which drops either Hainsey or Zaitsev or maybe even Gardiner down one spot makes the defence corps as a whole that much stronger. (Depending on who you talk to, Gardiner is either a #1 D or a #5 power play specialist D) It makes Polak and Carrick depth guys. I like both of them but if they are just for depth then the back end is soooooo much better. Someone that can take on PK time from Hainsey would really help him out long term.
6. Finally, and very similar to my first one, my sixth wish is that Freddie Andersen stays healthy for most of the season. As much as losing Matthews would hurt the Leafs’ season, if Freddie’s out for a long period of time, the season could go down the shitter. Eighteen wheeler style.
So that’s about it, hahaha. Not much to ask right? Anyway, if most of those things happen along the way, I think the Leafs could make a deep run in the playoffs. If Tampa faces a team like Pittsburgh in the first round (which is very possible), the Bolts could be bumped early and then the East is completely wide open. The who the hell knows.
After reading all this, I know it all looks like a big pipe dream but that’s part of all part of having a Christmas wish. Sometimes some of it comes true, sometimes it doesn’t.
And once again, I hope you have a merry Christmas and I hope you have a great new year!
Have a good one and enjoy the game against the Rangers tonight.