The puck drops on Wednesday for the 2015-16 NHL season. The SBNation preview went live last week and the people polled were not kind to the Maple Leafs. I can't blame them myself, they had no reason to be.
To kick off opening week the writers at PPP took like, five minutes at the most, to answer some questions about the Leafs upcoming season and make some predictions.
The first questions were to place the Leafs ranking in the Atlantic, the East, and the NHL.
A pretty average ranking of "out of the playoffs", NHL rankings ranging from 25th-28th, and Atlantic went from fifth to last. All of the league rankings give the Leafs good odds at the new draft lottery.
|Writer||# of Wins||Goals For||Goals Against|
The most optimistic answer for "most wins" was Achariya with 36 wins out of 82 games. Most goals for predictions hovered around the 200 mark and goals against ranged from 210-273. Lots of people looking forward to a more defensive game under Babcock.
Getting away from numbers we hit on a few personal opinions. What started as "How may players are traded at the deadline?" became "Who is gone by the deadline?" Roman Polak and a goaltender were the most popular choices, but many one year contracts were also up there.
|Writer||Who gets traded|
|elseldo||Polak, Harrington, Panik, Holland, Spaling, a goalie|
|clrkaitken||Arcobello, Grabner, Komarov, Lupul, Panik, Polak, Reimer|
|Gunnar Carlsson||Polak, PAP, Grabner, Matthais, Panik, Reimer|
|CharlottesWebster||Polak, Parrenteau, Grabner|
|achariya||A goaltender, Komarov, Grabner|
|draglikepull||Boyes, Polak, Parenteau, Grabner|
What's the best out come for the Maple Leafs?
elseldo - A top 5 draft pick, and lots of picks collected at the deadline with at least one 3+ year contract moved (Bozak/Phaneuf)
clrkaitken - It's better than last year.
Gunnar Carlsson - They manage to move at least one of their bad contracts. The depth players play well enough to be traded for draft picks. The team doesn't look like a tire fire on the ice.
CharlottesWebster - We're competitive and don't regularly get outplayed, but simply lack top end talent. Rielly, Gardiner, and Kadri take steps forward. JVR learns what his own blue line is. We get another top pick, and collect some futures
Achariya - Slowly but surely, Marlies are going to trickle up the pipe.
draglikepull - Team is better coached but sells assets at the deadline to ensure a high pick.
Worst Case Scenario:
elseldo - No one gets moved, the Penguins miss the playoffs (no 1st round pick from the Pens), the Leafs barely miss the playoffs (pick 14thish), Kadri is traded for Zajac and the Senators win the cup
clrkaitken - It's as bad as last year and Steve Simmons writes some horsecrap about how the rebuild won't work or whatever.
Gunnar Carlsson - The team plays like they did under Carlyle. They trade Jake Gardiner.
CharlottesWebster - No one gets moved. We still get outplayed horribly, and Babcock's systemic improvements don't work with our talent. We get propped up to mediocrity by Reimernier. Marner/Nylander get hurt, other prospects don't develop as planned.
Achariya - My worst-case scenario is that every small failure will be epically blown out of proportion, and pessimism will break everyone's spirit while the baby steps go uncelebrated.
draglikepull - Trades that hurt the team's chances long-term.
As a Leafs fan what is your personal goal for the team?
elseldo - Leafs beat the Habs every chance they get.
clrkaitken - Toronto Marlies - Calder Cup champions.
Gunnar Carlsson - No more 'off the glass and out'. The team can actually play defence, they're competent on the breakout, and Gardiner doesn't get benched for asinine reasons.
CharlottesWebster - Not get drastically outplayed every game, and see the young guys make notable steps forward. The Marlies will be of interest.
Achariya - Players learn Babcock's system and are shockingly tough to play against.
draglikepull - Improvement from the young guys and strong performances from core players like Kadri and Gardiner.
We won't only be focusing on the Leafs this year, so much better hockey out there!
|Writer||Wins East||Wins West||Wins Cup|
|Gunnar Carlsson||Tampa Bay||Los Angeles||Tampa Bay|
Yeah, boo me all you want. I kept the same pick I had last year, but switched it to Montreal winning. Two people didn't get the memo to never bet on St. Louis and Anaheim had a strong showing for the west. Cup winners were varied but Washington was the only one to nab multiple votes.
|Writer||Hart||Art Ross||Rocket Richard||Norris||Vezina||Calder||Best Coach||Best GM|
[CW: I'm pretty convinced elseldo is related to Tim Murray]
McDavid runs away with the Calder, except for Acha who waved her stars and stripes and voted for Eichel. drag, always the contrarian was the lone person to not give Crosby the Hart.
Clark voted for Rutherford "For literally stealing Phil Kessel," which, if they go long in the playoffs, I can see happening.
Those are our thoughts on the season. Are we right? Wrong? Who knows, but it's always fun to guess. The season starts tomorrow, and it's wide open from there.