Optimism Abounds!

TORONTO, CANADA - MARCH 12: Brad Boyes #22 of the Buffalo Sabres is held in check by Dion Phaneuf #3 of the Toronto Maple Leafs in a game on March 12, 2011 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. The Leafs defeated the Sabres 4-3. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

You'd think that there would be an air of greater disappointment and frustration amongst the fans of a team that is set to miss the playoffs for a sixth straight year, but it's really not the case. Quite the contrary, in fact. We have young netminders waiting in the wings, and one who may well be a number one already. We have a young defence corps that could be as intimidating as any in the league in a season or two. We have a couple prospects at center, well, at least one in Colborne, and perhaps another winger in Kadri. We have cap space and money to throw around. Overall, we're one of the youngest teams in the league, and seem to be bound to improve. Hell, we even have a few draft picks, even if the first rounders are late. James Mirtle, naturally, has some numbers for us:

Many of Toronto’s top players the past two months have also been their youngest ones, with the Leafs’ top four defencemen averaging only 23.4 years old and their top six forwards 25.6 years old.

Waiting for Leafs fans to wail about the playoffs is like the moment the Grinch listened to the residents of Whoville singing after they found their presents missing, only to find that instead of sounding sad, they sounded glad.

There are a lot of interesting links from Greg Wyshynski today at Puck Daddy along with your dose of optimism, so follow me over the jump for more.

Leafs Links:

Leafs’ youth leads way in second half
While playoff push likely to fall short, Toronto’s youngest players are playing biggest roles.

Leafs "Still Alive" With Sabres On Deck
Jonas Siegel with his fingers on the pulse.

Leafs have taken strides for the future
Michael Langlois over at Vintage Leaf Memories with a few happy thoughts for the future, as well as links to memories of happier times.

Other Links:

Why Have 32% of 1st Rounders Since 1990 Been Defensemen?
Bettman's Nightmare at Behind the Net takes a look at drafted players from 1990 to the present, and uses that information to suggest that NHL teams have taken far too many defensemen in the 1st round.

Bloge Salming: History Will Be Made
Careful what you wish for.

Puck Daddy Links:

Monday’s Three Stars
I can't believe Teemu. 40 years old.

In which Chris Pronger ends up on Charlie Sheen’s Facebook page
"Chances Charlie Sheen shows up at the NHL Awards in Vegas: Good. Chances the NHL pays him under the table in hookers: Better."

Tomas Vokoun is (again) not enjoying life outside of playoffs
Wyshynski's prediction: Vokoun leaves Florida, sees his price tag drop dramatically and latches on with a contender for shared duty (45-50 starts) rather than as the workhorse.

Do snobby puckheads chase away new hockey fans?
Oh, probably. But I think it's more common that morons chase away intelligent potential fans.

Video: Todd Bertuzzi ejected for elbow to head of Ryan Johnson
No way Bertuzzi avoids a suspension; I don't even know how that much is up for debate.

Report: Anze Kopitar now out until midsummer for Kings
Thaaaaat sucks.

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