Are you hyped for this season? You should be, because the Leafs are good, Rasmus Sandin is good, everything is good, and all futures are possible, even the best possible possibilities. I polled the masthead to see what they were looking forward to this season:
Which player are you ready to love so much you will not be able to see a single flaw?
Fulemin: I mean we all know I’m going to say Zach Hyman, right?
taaeeve: I am fully committed to spending the entire season proselytizing Rasmus Sandin as the saviour of the Leafs defense.
Arvind: Jake Muzzin is going to be the only Leafs defender who looks competent south of his own blueline, and for that, I forgive him of every other issue he may have.
Brigstew: His name is William Nylander and it happened 3 years ago already.
Katya: Sandin deserves the rosiest of lenses in everyone’s prospect goggles. You get one free year in the NHL if you make it as a teenager.
Hardev: All decisions by Mike Babcock are perfect because the team is perfect and no one can do any wrong.
Species: Rasmus Sandin will validate my Top 25 Under 25 vote of third place.
seldo: Frederik Andersen will finally be given the Vezina he deserves this season.
Which media narrative do you want to see destroyed, preferably by the Leafs being so good?
Fulemin: I want William Nylander to get a billion points. A full billion. You wanna talk about him not going to the corners or whatever? Well he has a billion points. So.
taaeeve: literally exactly what Fulemin said.
Brigstew: Babcock is at least a decent coach, probably a good coach, and he doesn’t hate young players or skill or analytics.
Arvind: William Nylander is the obvious answer. I would also like to see Matthews put a full healthy season together to shut up those that call him injury-prone.
Katya: No question for me, the “they gotta have size, need to be heavy, should of played Harpur” stuff needs to die in the blazing heat of the red goal light.
Hardev: That Babcock doesn’t play the players you like. Yes, you specifically. He hates all your favourite players until he plays them over half an hour in a preseason game and pens him into the lineup before final cuts have been made. Also yes to everything above.
Species: I don’t want to have to hear about Andersen being “overworked” and the related discussions about human biology from TV hockey analyst intermission panels.
seldo: Any narrative around salaries. They’re all signed. Let’s just watch some hockey this year.
What tinhat theory do you want to see proven this year?
Fulemin: I’ve suspected for a long time a lot of the Super Bad Analytics Defencemen were partly--only partly--being underrated because we didn’t adjust enough for context. I am now depending on this belief for Cody Ceci to be not awful, so I really hope I’m right.
taaeeve: that defense doesn’t really matter if your offense is powerful enough. If there was ever a team to put this theory to the test, it’s this one.
Brigstew: Hockey players are capable of coming up with and/or having clever nicknames, not just the first syllable of their name + s or y. Big Safety is a fantastic nickname and needs to stick.
Arvind: I have a theory that Babcock basically just trolls the media with 75% of his comments, and I’d like him to admit to that at some point.
Katya: I consider Ceci to be a great case study of how models isolate players on teams that are so far from the average as to be on another planet, so that will be interesting, but I really want it to come out that it was Nylander’s mother who was backing him on the contract hold out.
Hardev: All fringe backup goalies are the same, you just need to find one that gets hot in the right season.
Species: Threading the PATH through the outside ring of the ACC was a bad idea to begin with. The major renovation almost now done to incorporate access to the new CIBC Square tower will make the whole space even more congested and difficult to pass through, especially at afternoon rush hour when there’s also a Leafs or Raptors game that evening.
seldo: It’s actually Nikolai Borschevsky in the Carlton suit.
Which player do you want to be good/bad just to annoy someone else?
Fulemin: Martin “Big Safety” Marincin
taaeeve: Cody Ceci has an incredible year to spite us and also Ottawa.
Brigstew: William Nylander because fuck Brian Burke.
Arvind: I’d like to see Freddie Gauthier succeed, because at this point, I appreciate the comedy he provides. I’ve been wrong about him about six different times, and while he’s still pretty meh as a player, that’s about 30 times better than I thought he’d be two years ago.
Katya: Semyon Der-Arguchintsev and Alex Nylander can just keep on blowing away their bad points-based priors.
Hardev: Pierre Engvall, after he leads the Marlies in goals for the second year in a row.
Species: It has to be Nylander blowing away everyone’s expectations. I’m so tired of hearing casual fans assigning all blame to him as they do.
seldo: I want Jason Spezza to have a great season. He’s come home to spend what I’m assuming is his final season playing for his childhood team. After such a long career (mostly spent in Ottawa), he’s earned the chance to enjoy himself, make a dream come true, and help the Leafs win the cup.
What non-Leafs thing do you yearn for with your whole heart? (Your black heart or your white heart, either is fine.)
Fulemin: I want the Boston Bruins to miss the playoffs. Technically it’s a non-Leaf thing.
taaeeve: I want the Flyers to make the playoffs, and the Penguins to miss them.
Brigstew: Edmonton misses the playoffs again.
Species: Edmonton rehires Craig MacTavish.
Arvind: I’d like to see Dallas Eakins do well in Anaheim.
Katya: Kaapo Kakko to blow away Jack Hughes for the Calder.
Hardev: For Vancouver to give Tampa Bay a lottery pick in 2021.
seldo: Oilers finish last, McDavid publicly demands a trade.
Now it’s your turn, what are you looking forward to?
One thing I noticed was that a lot of fans are pledging money to MotB for Nylander points. If you want to put your hopes and dreams into money down for MLSE foundation, an organization about sports and about helping all of the kids of Toronto access everything sports can give a child, just check out this Tweet:
Time to get the season-long campaign underway!— Leafs MotB (@MotBLeafs) September 27, 2019
1) Pick a player, team, etc.
2) Pick an event (goal, assist, etc.)
3) Pick a pledge amount
Register your pledge here: https://t.co/MpwUstzEuP
There is a team-signed stick that will go to one of the participants.