The theme of last year’s preview was ‘Dumpster fire or tire fire?’, thankfully this year we’re looking upwards, not downwards.

With half the opening night roster being turned over, going from trade bait to rookies, we’re looking at how much the Maple Leafs will improve over their tanking season last year.

The first question was ranking the Leafs in the division, conference, and the league:

Name Division Conference League
8th 16 30
elseldo 7 13 26
Achariya 5 10 19
KatyaKnappe 7 12 24
AT Fulemin 6 12 22
Arvind 6 10 20
Gunnar Calrsson 6 11 19

Moving onto team specifics our outlook for wins and goals put faith into the new Leafs:

Name Wins Goals
29 198 246
elseldo 37 215 230
Achariya 46 245 230
KatyaKnappe 40 235 235
AT Fulemin 39 235 240
Arvind 41 240 250
Gunnar Calrsson 42 242 233

Last year we took a look at who would be traded, and weren’t too far off from who was actually moved. This year there are some favourites; Roman Polak and Milan Michalek look to be on the move, and surprise Marlie Josh Leivo is also a popular one.

Name Who Gets Traded?
elseldo Polak,Bozak, Greening, Corrado, Gauthier
Achariya Polak, Corrado
KatyaKnappe Greening, Holland, Loov, Sparks, Leivo
AT Fulemin Polak, Greening, Michalek
Arvind Michalek, Leivo
Gunnar Carlsson Leivo, Polak, Michalek

Next up we discussed what we thought would be the best outcome for the Maple Leafs this year. Yes, the Stanley Cup would be the best outcome, but let’s talk realistically.

elseldo: More wins, GF than last year, less GA. Games get less sloppy as the season goes on, by February they start picking up more wins than losses.

Achariya: Wild Card! (But maybe I'm optimistic.)

Katya: None of the wrong people on LTIR. No one 25 and under flames out. The goaltending is better than league average.

Acting the Fulemin: None of the core get injured; all of the core improve.

Arvind: Sneak into the playoffs off the back of strong performances from the rookies/core.

Gunnar Carlsson: They're in the playoff race until the end. No one gets a horrific injury.

Of course things could go the other way, these are the Maple Leafs after all. What are the worst case scenarios for the team this year?

elseldo: Marner, Nylander, Matthews all get injured, Andersen turns out to be the new Glen Healy, Kadri is traded for Lucic, Dubas leaves to become the new Columbus GM mid season

Achariya: Become the Sens. :(

Katya: Robidas Island has so many people on it, it becomes a member of the UN. The Leafs finish too high for Kristian Vesalainen, but they lose a lot as the systems fray out.

Acting the Fulemin: Everyone on the team abducted by aliens.

Arvind: Matthews pursues lifelong passion of watching paint dry, Nylander too busy looking at mirrors to focus on his game, Marner discovers pastries.

Gunnar Carlsson: Someone gets a horrific injury.

So these could all happen but what do we want from the team personally, as fans?

elseldo: PLAYOFFS! More realistically though I want them to beat the Habs every game, and generally improve overall as a team to make the damn playoffs next season

Achariya: Take the first round of playoffs to at least six games and learn a lot.

Katya: Same as all fans: everyone to have a positive Corsi Rel and the fourth line to score 20 goals each.

Acting the Fulemin: Playoffs; Rielly improves to 1st pair, Matthews/Nylander/Marner approach 1st line.

Arvind: Playoffs, Rielly learns how to play defense, Matthews/Nylander/Marner are bona fide first liners.

Gunnar Carlsson: Playoffs. Watching Matthews/Nylander/Marner every night.

What about those non-Leafs teams? They matter less but we all made out picks for them as well.

Name EC Winner WC Winner Cup Winner
Last Year Pittsburgh
San Jose
elseldo Pittsburgh
Achariya Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay
KatyaKnappe Washington
St. Louis
AT Fulemin Washington
Arvind Washington
Los Angeles
Gunnar Carlsson Washington
San Jose

Four out of six of our writers picked the Capitals to win the East and the cup. Other choices were the Lightning and the Penguins to repeat. The East winners were always the cup winner, but out west Nashville took three of the responses. I should note these votes were done before the EA Sports simulation was done.

And finally below are our choices for the individual awards:

Name Hart Art Ross Richard Norris Vezina Selke Calder Adams Best GM
Last Year P. Kane P. Kane Ovechkin Doughty Holtby Kopitar Panarin Trotz Rutherford
elseldo Crosby P. Kane Tavares Karlsson Holtby Bergeron Matthews Babcock Lamoriello
Achariya Subban Benn Stamkos Hedman Holtby Bergeron Matthews Babcock Yzerman
Katya Holtby Benn Tavares Weber Quick Bergeron Bjorkstrand Babcock Polie
AT Fulemin Crosby Crosby Ovechkin Should be Karlsson
but probably Doughty
or some shit
Holtby Kopitar Matthews Tippett Polie
Arvind McDavid McDavid Ovechkin Hedman Holtby Bergeron Strome McLellan Polie
Gunnar Calrsson Ovechkin McDavid Ovechkin Karlsson Price Bergeron Matthews Babcock Polie

Everyone had different votes for Hart, and that will be a great race to watch. Also to note this poll was done before Crosby’s concussion announcement. Three awards were dominated by one player, Selke for Bergeron, Calder for Matthews, and Holtby for the Vezina. Babcock was a popular choice, and could he finally pick up the Jack Adams award?

There are our predictions, we’ll check back in mid-season to see who’s on pace to be the winner.

Argue down in the comments, tell me I’m too pessimistic. Are playoffs in your mind this year? Can Price come back to win the Vezina? Make your picks.