NHL Betting: Toronto Maple Leafs Odds & Season Predictions

Toronto Maple Leafs left winger Joffrey Lupul is congratulated by teammates after scoring

Dana Lane

Sunday, October 2, 2016 8:41 PM GMT

Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016 8:41 PM GMT

There is excitement in Toronto surrounding the NHL League, our handicapper analyzes this team of the north and does a comparison with last season stats, and its roster.

 

 

Last Season: 29-42-11 60pts
Standings: 16th Eastern Conference (Last) / 30th in the league (Last)
Team Notes: The Toronto Marlies, the Leafs AHL affiliate was a league best 54-16-6 last season
2016-17 Stanley Cup Odds: Highest +8000 at 5Dimes/BetOnline / Lowest: +5000 at Bovada/SportsInteraction
Key Statistic: Received at least a point in only 42% of their games (30th)

 

Toronto is buzzing about hockey and why not, after 2015-16 when they pick up Arizona native Auston Mathews with the first overall selection in last Summer's entry draft, couple that with the explosion of talent that their American Hockey League affiliate seems to be producing, you can see why there would be excitement surrounding the possibilities of what could be this season. Pump the breaks.

 

Toronto acquired goaltender Frederik Andersen from the Anaheim Ducks where he 22-9-7 with 2.30 goals against average, along with a .919 save percentage.  I think Andersen is an above average goaltender but even before his upper body injury in an Olympic qualifying event a few weeks ago, I wondered if he would be able to be the shut down goaltender that the Leafs need, now that he will face more shots per night than he ever did in Anaheim who were tied for third overall in shots allowed per game (27.5). Andersen should be ready by opening night but I'm not always a fan of his technique plus he only faced an average of 26 per night in his Ducks career, better be careful if this is your NHL pick.

 

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In front of Andersen will be nothing like he had with the Ducks. Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner will anchor the first defensive pairing with Matt Hunwick and rookie Nikita Zaitsev on the second unit. Rielly definitely needs to get stronger while Gardiner's ability to make smart choices with the puck came into question last season. These are not qualities that I want in front of my goaltender who will now be asked to stop 30 shots a night, and qualities taking in consideration when the lines move across the board.

Mathews is projected to start on the third line but I expect him to move up the offensive ladder as he becomes more comfortable with the speed of the league. Even though they are thin defensively the hope is that they will carry the puck more which will alleviate some opposition pressure. You can bet that Mike Babcock will be rotating his defensemen often trying to find the right combination.  

Toronto does have the luxury of playing in a division that has the most question marks but there are too many questions for the Leafs defensively for me to take them seriously although improvement is inevitable.

 

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