In this post, I’m going to spell out 10 hopes I have for the Toronto Maple Leafs 2022-23 season.
Hope #1: I Hope One of the Two Goalies Has a Huge Bounceback Season
The Maple Leafs are taking a risk with the two goalies they brought to the team. That said, I’m hoping that at least one of them will have a huge bounceback season and comes to carry the team.
Last season, the team set a franchise record with 115 points. Their goalie play was suspect. Imagine how well they would be able to play with elite play from one – how about both – of their goalies.
Hope #2: I Hope Maple Leafs’ Fans Will See in Adam Gaudette What I Think Is There
When I watched Adam Gaudette with the Vancouver Canucks, I thought he had the makings of a great player. He had great on-ice IQ. He played good defense and could anticipate the passing lanes; and, if he got a turnover, there was a good chance he would get a good scoring chance.
I don’t know where that Gaudette went. But I hope it was “just” him getting his stomach issues back in order. If he’s the player I saw with the Canucks, the Maple Leafs’ fans are in for a treat.
Hope #3: I Hope Rasmus Sandin Signs Before the Season Begins
I have to admit, that I really like Rasmus Sandin as a player. I think he has the makings of a top-pairing defenseman. But I think he’s playing hard to get with his contract at the wrong time. It’s tiring.
If he doesn’t sign before the season starts, I would be inclined to let his sit. I trust the contract is fair, but if it is and he goes away – sad, but perhaps needed.
Hope #4: I Hope Mark Giordano Has a Second (and Probably Last) Career Season
I can’t believe that some Maple Leafs’ fans are dissing Mark Giordano for signing at a huge hometown discount. He’s an elite athlete and NHL defenseman, even at his age of 39 when the season begins.
For two reasons, I hope he has a great season. First, it will help team. Second, it might cause those fans who are quick to disparage any hockey player to hesitate next time. (No it won’t, but I can hope.) These players are highly skilled. Giordano has won a Norris Trophy for heaven’s sake. I hope he shows his doubters!
Hope #5: I Hope Michael Bunting Keeps Growing and Progressing
How do you not root for Michael Bunting. Not growing up in a wealthy family, it was only the hard work of Shane Bowler, the hockey coach at Cardinal Newman Academy, who talked his AAA team into allowing him to cut the costs of his playing. He excelled.
Not having the easiest of times, he was the oldest rookie in the Calder competition. He took the chance he had and turned it into a huge opportunity for himself. I hope he does even better – 30 goals would be nice. Being part of the best line in the NHL? Priceless.
Hope #6: I Hope John Tavares Is a Point-a-Game Player
Maple Leafs’ fans are quick to disparage John Tavares. Yes, his skills are no longer expanding. Still, he scored 76 points in 79 games last season. I’d love to see him get just a few more to average a-point-a-game.
I think if the team finds a solid winger to join Tavares and William Nylander, that could happen. In fact, I’d love to see Tavares hit 90 points. Thus far, his career high is 88 (it came in his first season in Toronto).
Hope #7: I Hope Morgan Rielly Wins the Norris Trophy
Morgan Rielly came as close to the Norris Trophy as he’s come during the 2018-19 season. He scored 72 points in 82 games. But, if anything the competition for the Norris Trophy is tougher than it’s ever been. There are a large number of stellar defenseman – Victor Hedman, Cale Makar, Adam Fox, Roman Josi, and others.
Even better if he has a good enough season to actually be in that competition. The Maple Leafs defense is improving. Rielly is good enough and needs the right context. Hitting 80 points would be great.
Hope #8: I Hope the Kids Create a Great Fourth Line
I’ve noted before that I think the Toronto Marlies should be the farm system for the Maple Leafs’ roster. I also think the team’s fourth line should be the farm system where the young players earn their right to jump to the top nine forwards.
If the fourth line can crash, bang, and develop an identity, it could be a fun part of the season.
Hope #9: I Hope Nick Robertson Finds a Spot on the Second Line and Shines
It’s time that Nick Robertson gets a chance to show what he can do with the roster. I hope he gets a roster spot and I hope he’s able to turn that into playing regularly with the team. It would help the team both on the ice and in the salary-cap.
Hope #10: I Hope the Maple Leafs Win the Stanley Cup
That’s the ultimate goal. I hope it’s a season for the ages and that everything comes together. The team has the skill and, if the goalies play well and the team avoids key injuries – let’s hope this is the season.
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