Fans of the Blue and White have not had much to cheer about the last couple years. The Maple Leafs haven’t even reached the post season since 2003, when they were embarrassed by the Flyers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, 6-1.
Since then, the highest the Leafs finished after 82 regular season games was two years ago, when they ended up ninth in the Eastern Conference with 91 points.
All of this misery aside, Leafs fans should excited about the team’s new look. The team has gotten rid of several players who just weren’t cutting it anymore and were eating up the team’s salary cap, but I mention any specifics.
Thanks to Mr. Ron Wilson and other management, that’s all history now. The Leafs are now one of the youngest team in the entire League, with a lot of promise for the future.
Let’s just hope Toronto can get someone who can develop into a professional hockey player down the road. When picking a little later in this year’s draft, that’s all Leaf fans can really hope for. More than likely this year’s draft picks won’t skate on NHL ice for at least three or four years. But who knows, Wilson and Burke could really use a couple gems late in the draft.
There is some hope for Leaf diehards though. Just look at the team’s top prospects going into the 2010-11 season. London Knights speedster Nazem Kadri, finished his most recent OHL season tied for fourth in the league scoring with 93 points.
After winning a silver medal with the Canadian Junior team this year, Kadri went back to dominating the OHL. He led the Knights with 93 points and a 1.88 ppg average to an impressive regular season, but didn’t stop there. In 12 games of this year’s OHL playoffs, Kadri scored nine goals and 27 points and even now, though his London Knights were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs, he is tied for fourth in OHL playoff scoring.
The team’s top draft pick from 2008 will have an excellent training camp again and will hopefully give the Leafs a lot more fire power next season.