GDHQNHL15_2pg-Toronto Maple Leafs 1

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Toronto MAPLE LEAFS Key Additions: Stephane Robidas, Dan Winnik, David Booth, Mike Santorelli Key Subtractions: Carl Gunnarsson, Dave Bolland, Mason Raymond, Nikolai Kulemin Strengths: Offense, youthful talent Weaknesses: Mental toughness, defense, penalty kill Offense Things were looking up for the Toronto Maple Leafs got off to a 10-4 start to the season. By the middle of March, they had 80 points and were third in the Eastern Conference. Then the Leafs earned just four points in their final 14 games and missed the second wild card position by nine points. finished the season 2-12. The organization has undergone a lot of turmoil under new GM Brendan Shanahan, but the most important piece, Phil Kessel, is still in place. He has done nothing but produce since being traded to the Maple Leafs in 2009. Over the past three seasons, Kessel has appeared in every Maple Leafs game and averaged just over a point-per-game. He tied a career high with 37 goals last year and scored five goals in six games as a member of Team USA at the Sochi Olympics. Paired with James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak, the Leafs formed a number one line as formidable as any in the league. They put up 190 combined points and each averaged over 20 minutes of ice time per game. At the age of 24, van Riemsdyk had a career year with 30 goals, but there has been talk of moving him to the second line in an attempt to spread the scoring around more. Nazem Kadri , another promising young forward, will center the second line. The former first-round pick of the Maple Leafs proved that he could make plays in the strike shortened season and he took another step last year in more pressure packed minutes, but he struggled mightily down the stretch like many of his teammates. Veteran Joffrey Lupul will join Kadri on the second line as the two secondary scoring options. Although he missed most of the 2012-13 season due to injury, Lupul bounced back for a solid 22-goal season. Unfortunately another injury ended his season in April. If Lupul can stay healthy, he’ll be a big part of the Maple Leaf offense. Defense The defense was trouble for Toronto last season. They allowed 56 goals, which ranked 26th in the NHL, and they allowed 49 goals in their ill-fated final 14 games. The Maple Leafs had trouble controlling the puck in the defensive zone and it led to teams taking more than 35 shots per game. A big part of the reason for the Maple Leaf’s collapse was the poor play of captain Dion Phaneuf. Although he finished the season with a EASTERN CONFERENCE ATLANTIC DIVISION Phil Kessel, Jonathan Bernier Claus Andersen/Getty Images


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