Offensive Strength Will Lead Toronto Maple Leafs In 2013-14
The offseason moves of the Toronto Maple Leafs have drawn plenty of attention this summer, for better or for worse. Many already felt that their 2013 season was a bit of a fluke, as they grabbed the no. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference, and those same folks question whether or not Dave Nonis has made them better heading into the new season.
One thing is for sure, though, and that’s the fact that the Maple Leafs do boast one of the better offensive attacks in the league. A team that ranked sixth in the league in goals per game in 2013 should be right back near the top in terms of their offensive output when 2013-14 rolls around. In fact, they could be better.
The Leafs, despite the nonsensical trade rumors that surround him, boast one of the top offensive threats on the planet from the wing position in Phil Kessel. Heading into the final year of his contract, there’s little doubt that Toronto needs to get him locked up sooner, rather than later. He had four consecutive seasons of at least 30 goals prior to the lockout shortened 2013, in which he notched 20.
The offense starts with him, but it doesn’t nearly end with him. Joffrey Lupul comes into the new season completely healthy after multiple injury issues and a suspension limited him in 2013. When he was on the ice, he was effective, with 18 points, including 11 goals, in only 16 games.
James van Riemsdyk is coming off of a pretty solid first year with the Maple Leafs, as he finished with 32 points in 48 games, including 18 goals. With a year to adjust, he could be better this time around. Same goes for Nazem Kadri, who should build on a extremely strong first full season with Toronto, once he agrees to a new contract of course.
In addition to the talent they’ve already boasted, the Leafs went out an added David Clarkson in free agency. Regardless of whether or not his deal was too much, and it was, he’s still a guy who can go out and pot 30 goals in a season. He makes this team even more dangerous offensively, while adding some physicality as well.
If there’s an aspect of this Maple Leafs club that is going to take a step back in the new season, it sure isn’t the offense. The Leafs boast an excellent group of forwards that should once again come in with the best in the league as far as their goal output is concerned. Now their blue line on the other hand, might be an issue.