Going into the 2013-2014 NHL season, the Toronto Maple Leafs are poised to finish within the top three spots of the newly realigned Eastern Conference. While everyone is speaking of the addition of the Detroit Red Wings to the Atlantic Division, the Maple Leafs have made some key additions of their own to help balance their attack against teams such as the Red Wings and the Boston Bruins.
With the additions of a hopeful no. 1 goalie in Jonathan Bernier, a finesse player in Mason Raymond, a potential 30-goal scorer in David Clarkson and a crafty veteran in Dave Bolland, the Maple Leafs have made some noise of their own heading into the regular season.
These types of changes needed to happen in order for them to continue to compete against the division’s top dogs, which will be part of a 30-game in division schedule for the Maple Leafs.
Within the Atlantic Division, the Maple Leafs only need to worry about the likes of the Red Wings and the Bruins. They have a good track record against rivals Montreal Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators. The Buffalo Sabres, Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers should be afterthoughts when speaking of teams that will be competing in the division for playoff spots.
The Maple Leafs will go 17-6-7, earning a total of 34 points within their Atlantic Division play.
The Metropolitan Division looks to be one that will finish a lot closer when it comes to who will be seeing playoff action. The Maple Leafs will play a total of 24 games against these teams and will finish with a record of 14-7-3, good enough for 31 points added to their regular season total.
Even with the realignment, teams are still given the opportunity to play a healthy number of games outside of their conference. The Maple Leafs will either travel to or welcome in teams from the Western Conference for a total of 28 games. Although the Western Conference has proven to be a very tough place to play, expect things to change for the Maple Leafs and see them go 15-7-6 for a total of 30 points being earned against teams of the Western Conference.
When the regular season is all said and done for the Maple Leafs, expect their regular season record to be a very impressive 46-20-16, good enough for 108 points.
This may seem a little bit out of the ordinary for a team that is just starting to get back to playing solid hockey across the board, but with those key additions to an already young and dynamic team, the Maple Leafs shouldn’t have a problem breaking the 100 point mark. That will surely have them within the top three spots of the Eastern Conference in 2013-14.