Toronto Maple Leafs odds to win the Stanley Cup
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Toronto Maple Leafs odds to win the Stanley Cup

Ahead of the new NHL season, we’re taking an early look at the Toronto Maple Leafs odds to win the Stanley Cup to see how they are expected to fare next term.

It was a case of the same old story in 2021-22 for the Maple Leafs, who were again unable to transfer their regular-season form to the playoffs.

Toronto have not won a playoff series since 2003-04, when they were beaten in the second round.

Since then, they have lost seven consecutive first-round series and missed the playoffs altogether in a further 10 campaigns.

The Maple Leafs’ post-season struggles are baffling considering the offensive talent they possess and consistently strong regular-season results of late.

Aside from the truncated 2020-21 term, Toronto have had at least 40 wins in four of the last five years, including 54 in 2021-22 to finish fourth overall in the entire league.

They had six forwards that scored at least 50 points last season – and defenceman Morgan Reilly chipped in with 68 from the backend.

With so much talent at their disposal, it is a surprise to see their post-season struggles continue for so long. Could 2022-23 be the season the tide turns?

All change between the posts

Rather than any big moves – which will be difficult with Toronto’s cap situation – it could be the smaller tweaks that prove more beneficial for the Leafs.

The biggest change ahead of the new season comes in the crease.

Jack Campbell has left to move west to the Edmonton Oilers as the Leafs have elected to go for Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov as their tandem.

Murray was acquired from the Ottawa Senators and Toronto will hope for a bounceback season after he went 5-12-2 with a 3.05 goals-against average and .906 save percentage last season.

Samsonov was signed as a free agent after not being offered a deal by the Washington Capitals and the change of scenery may help him.

He went 23-12-5 with a 3.02 GAA and .896 save percentage last year, with three shutouts.

Forward Calle Jarnkrok has been added following 30 points in 66 games last season split between the Calgary Flames and the Seattle Kraken.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel will add grit to the bottom six, while also being able to add a scoring touch after 11 goals and 22 points in 67 games with Colorado Avalanche.

He will also bring some valuable playoff experience to the club after winning the Stanley Cup last year.

Adam Gaudette is another who brings some much-needed steel after coming over from the Senators.

On the backend, veteran Jordie Benn brings experience and Victor Mete will also add some depth to the defensive corps.

Ilya Mikheyev scored 21 goals last season, but elected to sign in Vancouver, while Jason Spezza – who had 25 points in 2021-22 – has hung up his skates.

Keefe must build from the back

The key for coach Sheldon Keefe will be to get scoring from outside the big six – and make the Maple Leafs tougher to play against.

Toronto were worn down in the post-season as the Tampa Bay Lightning matched up and shut down their big names.

Goaltending is the biggest question mark for the Leafs after both shot-stoppers are coming off less than stellar seasons.

General manager Kyle Dubas may have to address that if they struggle out of the gate.

Toronto’s offence will ensure they enjoy a fruitful regular season, but will it be enough to carry over to the playoffs.

The Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay will again be strong, so Toronto will be in a tough battle for a division title, but they are favourites for top spot.

A prominent finish in the Eastern Conference is well within their grasp and then anything is possible!

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