TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
The Carolina Hurricanes finished 23rd in the NHL, with a record of 38-36-8 for 84 points. They ended up 6th the Atlantic Division and 12th in the 16 team Eastern Conference. They missed the playoffs for the 8th time in 9 years.
Hopes were high in hogtown as the Maple Leafs added a couple of key pieces, Jonathan Bernier and David Clarkson over the summer. They also brought Mason Raymond in late in the game for a bargain and hoped he could provide a solid spark .
- Got off to a tremendous start to the season, going 10-4-0 in October
- It appears they have finally found a legitimate #1 goalie in Bernier
- Phil Kessel reached 80 points for the second time in his career
- Finished the season 2-12-0 to drop from 3rd in the division to 6th in the last month
- Missed the playoffs after returning last season following 7 straight misses
- Clarkson appeared to be a massive free agent bust, starting out with a 10 game suspension and scoring only 5 goals in 60 games
PROGNOSIS FOR NEXT SEASON
With a lot of high priced and nearly untradeable contracts, what you see is what you get. The Leafs made some noise today by extending the contract of head coach Randy Carlyle instead of firing him. Brendan Shanahan became the face of the front office, but that is primarily a figure-head role and will not have much direct impact on the on-ice product. If Bernier can stay healthy, the Leafs will be in the mix for a playoff spot once again, but it remains to be seen how they react to another season of Carlyle, who many would argue the team quit on down the stretch.
5 QUESTIONS WITH EDITOR IN LEAF
We asked Tim Bayer, Editor of editorinleaf.com a few questions about the Tornto Maple Leafs’ season and future. Here are his responses, but note that this was done before the news of Carlyle’s extension was announced:
1) What was the biggest surprise for your team?
The biggest surprise for me was the play of Jonathan Bernier. When general manager Dave Nonis traded for him, I was skeptical he would provide better goaltending than what the Leafs already had in James Reimer. However, he ended up overtaking Reimer for the starting job and put up a stellar .922 save percentage in 55 games, 13 of which he had to face 40-plus shots. .
The biggest disappointment had to be the play of David Clarkson. Most Leafs fans weren’t thrilled to hear Nonis had signed the one-time 30-goal scorer to a long-term contract, but I don’t think anybody expected him to produce only five goals and 11 points in 60 games this season. Clarkson never fit in alongside the skilled duo of Joffrey Lupul and Nazem Kadri, and ended up giving the Leafs mostly ineffective third-line minutes. That contract never made sense from the beginning, and it only looks worse now. To top it all off, the way the contract is set up, the Leafs would only receive minimal salary-cap relief if they bought out the embattled winger (http://theglobeandmail.com/
Either Bernier or Phil Kessel. We’ll call them co-MVPs. I shudder to think what this team would be like without these two players.
5) What #hashtag would you use to describe your team’s season or state of the team?
Thanks to Tim for taking the time to answer our questions. The Battle of Ontario will be an interesting one next season.