Well, I'm back for more pain. I'm a die-hard Toronto Maple Leafs fan who knows they'll have a great regular season, but the real measuring stick will be the playoffs. Still, I'm planning to watch 82 games (as I always do), and I'm going to have some fun with crazy predictions that are unlikely to pan out.
First, here's how I did last year.
- Prediction 1: Matthews wins the Rocket Richard Trophy - Correct
- Prediction 2: Nick Ritchie fails to hit 20 goals - Correct
- Prediction 3: Jack Campbell gets at least one Vezina vote - Wrong
- Prediction 4: Jason Spezza scores 20 goals - Wrong
- Prediction 5: Marner hits 100 points on the season - Wrong*
*Marner hit 97 points and sat out the final game of the season so as not to risk injury before the playoffs. I was technically wrong, but also, I'm still happy with the result.
With that out of the way, let's dig into my five crazy predictions for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2022-2023
1. Auston Matthews scores 70 goals
Just so we're clear, I have low confidence in this prediction, but that's what makes it crazy. He's likely going to get 50, but 70 seems like it's miles off from his breakneck pace last year that got him 60 goals. Everything has to go right for 70, and he's the only player in the world right now that has a shot at it. The fact it's even a consideration is nuts.
2. Leafs win the Presidents Trophy
The Athletic has the Toronto Maple Leafs as the top ranked team in the NHL based on their model. They've also ranked the Stanley Cup winner either #1 or #2 in five of the last six seasons. Toronto will steamroll the competition in the regular season, earn home ice throughout the entire playoffs, and enter the post-season with expectations higher than ever before. They either break through this year, or big changes are coming.
3. John Tavares will return to form (30 goals, 82 points)
All signs say that a 32-year old John Tavares should be on the decline, and he is, but I think the Leafs captain is going to turn back the clock for one more year. I'm saying that Tavares is able to get 30 goals and maintain a point-per-game pace through the 2022-23 season. I think he's dialed in and going to have a big year.
4. Nick Robertson scores 20 goals
Nick Robertson has had a great showing in the pre-season and should make the team. I say he can score 20 goals, but only if he's playing in the top six. Still, let's get crazy, right? Nick Roberson will score 20 goals for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2022-23.
5. Leafs make the Stanley Cup Finals
What could I possibly predict that's wilder than this? I guess them winning it all, but I need somewhere to go next year.
Featured image credit: NHL