Frank Mahovlich and Red Kelly celebrate better times in Toronto's long hockey history
Will better days be ahead for Brian Burke's Maple Leafs this season? That question is on my mind tonight as I settle into my Toronto hotel room after an exhausting day of travel and visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame (join me on Facebook for photos).
Sorry Leafs fans, but I don't think so. I really like the additions of John Michael Liles and Cody Franson, and a full season of Keith Aulie will make the blue line that much better. Liles will really help the power play. He's well known for quick starts, so expect to hear lots about him early in the season.
But this group of forwards is weak. Injury prone Tim Connolly is not much of a consolation prize in the Brad Richards derby. The Leafs better hope a) he can stay healthy and b) he and Phil Kessel connect quickly. Nikolai Kulemin is a very underrated player.
I'm also not much of a believer in Ron Wilson anymore, so expect a penalty kill and goals against total near the worst in the league, again. As much as everyone wants to like James Reimer in net, the fact is he is an unproven entity still. Playing behind a weak team does not bode well for his chances.
I really like Brian Burke, but I am surprised he has not made more notable progress so far. I think the Leafs will have an okay year, maybe stay in the race for 8th later into the season this time around. But ultimately they will come up short again.
And that - Brian Burke, and especially Ron Wilson - should no longer be acceptable.