Now it is time for the big prediction. The one that will label you as an ardent homer, a hopeless cynic, or something entirely else come April. Jonathan Willis looked at what the fantasy annuals were saying about the Maple Leafs' playoff hopes. TSN has the Leafs slotted into 10th in the East but we all know that TSN has a deep seated hatred of the Leafs. Pro Hockey Talk is straddling the fence:
The Maple Leafs are a coin-flip of a team. A lot can go right or wrong – from health to encore seasons and prospect breakthroughs – so it’s a bit difficult to forecast their future. Especially since they can make up so much ground in a ridiculously promising January 2012 run.
Again, it’s close to 50-50, but the Maple Leafs have enough "ifs" that it’s probably safer to bet on them falling just short of that precious playoff spot. It’s been a long time since Toronto fans have had so many reasons for optimism, though – so don’t count them out.
And Puck Daddy just noted that there are a lot of 'ifs' involved in any prediction:
If Liles and the improving forwards can get the power play better than 16 percent. If Reimer and the defense can dramatically cut into that 2.94 team GAA. If the team can roll three lines that threaten to score. If November isn't a complete disaster again. If … if … if … the Toronto Maple Leafs can be a playoff team for the first time since 2004. Or at least hang very, very close to the bubble.
So where does that leave you?