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Toronto Maple Leafs Odds - “Tough to play against” doesn’t necessarily get you into the playoffs

Posted by Don Melrose on 4/24/2012 11:47:15 AM
NHL futuresThe Toronto Maple Leafs odds are prominent on the minds of everyone in Southern Ontario, and that shows just how sad the state of Toronto sports is right now. Betting fans are pinning their hopes on a turnaround hockey season as general manager Brian Burke led a rebuilding process this summer. Can the new, tougher Leafs return to the postseason?

Toronto Maple Leafs Odds: Defense vastly improved, but scoring will be a problem

  • With Kaberle staying, Leaf blueline suddenly among the league’s best
  • “Monster” Gustavsson a Rookie of the Year candidate in goal
  • Leafs arguably have no true first-line scorers

Toronto Maple Leafs odds maker breakdown: OFFENSE

If you’re a “glass half full” type of hockey betting player, you may think the Toronto offense will be just fine this season. After all, the Leafs were 10th in the league in scoring in 2008-09 and, according to Burke, the improved toughness will open up more space for the scorers.

The reality, though, is that the Leafs have very little firepower up front. Jason Blake showed flashes last season, but the catalyst for his success, Dominic Moore, is gone. Mikhail Grabovski showed promise by hitting the 20-goal mark as a rookie and is likely the best bet to lead the team in goals unless Jiri Tlusty or Nikolai Kulemin breaks out. Don’t expect first-round pick Nazem Kadri to make the team. Aside from those players, the Leafs have a hodgepodge of scrappy 20-goal types who score the odd goal but aren’t natural snipers.

UPDATE: Acquiring Phil Kessel could eventually yield the Leafs their first 50-goal man since Dave Andreychuk. After all, Kessel, a former No. 5 overall draft pick, scored 36 goals in 70 games as a 21-year-old last season with Boston. However, Leaf Nation shouldn’t plan a parade just yet. Kessel has shifty speed and phenomenal hands, but he’s not the type of offensive player who creates chances on his own. He flourishes with a strong playmaker dishing him the puck; in Boston, he had Marc Savard. He won’t have that kind of help in Toronto until Nazem Kadri makes the team, and Kadri is expected to be sent back to the London Knights for this season.

It’s also worth noting that shoulder surgery will keep Kessel out until at least early November. He’ll be a major part of the Leafs’ future hockey betting hopes but won’t help the offense significantly this season.

Toronto Maple Leafs odds maker breakdown: DEFENSE

If you’re betting on the Leafs to make the playoffs at your offshore sportsbook, it’s because of their defense. Signing Mike Komisarek gives them the punishing shutdown defender they’ve wanted for years, and Francois Beauchemin is among the game’s most well-rounded and underrated blueliners – though he didn’t get “underrated” money in his deal. Those two join future captain Luke Schenn and Tomas Kaberle, who is apparently staying in town, to form one of the league’s best top-fours.

Toronto Maple Leafs odds maker breakdown: GOALTENDING

We won’t know for sure what the Leafs have until the season starts, but things are looking up between the pipes. Swedish phenom Jonas “the Monster” Gustavsson was widely considered the top goalie outside the NHL before the Leafs nabbed him. Signing the 24-year-old was equivalent to the Leafs having a second top-10 draft pick. Even if Monster doesn’t set the world on fire, Vesa Toskala has always played his best when pushed by another netminder, so he should improve on his ugly 2008-09.

Toronto Maple Leafs odds maker breakdown: SPECIAL TEAMS

Toronto’s mediocre power-play should stay the same but the league-worst penalty kill, which clocked in at 74.7 per cent, should improve dramatically. Komisarek, a maturing Schenn, and Garnet Exelby are warriors who block shots with the best of ’em and newly acquired checking center Wayne Primeau has lots of penalty-killing experience.

Toronto Maple Leafs odds maker breakdown: SEASON OUTLOOK

The Leafs are a virtual lock to improve on last season’s 81 points and 12th-place finish in the Eastern Conference. Think about it – lose virtually nothing on offense but add two top-four defensemen and a blue-chip goalie prospect and it’s almost impossible to go backwards. However, the Leafs may fall short – just short – of a playoff berth because of their poor offense. Unless rookies like Kadri, Tyler Bozak, and Christian Hanson make the team and surprise, Blue-and-White fans will have to wait one more year.

For Toronto Maple Leafs odds, NHL sports betting lines and all your hockey futures info, keep reading the Betting Edge at

Who better to offer great sports betting and hockey tips than a native Canadian? Like any good Canuck, Don Melrose eats, sleeps, breathes and bets hockey, making him the perfect NHL handicapper. Thoughts or questions?



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