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Five Reasons Why the Maple Leafs Will Win the Stanley Cup This Year 

Auston Matthews Suspended

It’s a familiar refrain since 1967; this is the year for the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, this season is shaping up to be one of their best opportunities since the NHL expanded from the days of the Original Six. Here’s a look at five reasons why the Maple Leafs will end their 55-year Stanley Cup drought.

Why the Maple Leafs Will Win the Stanley Cup This Season

The Big Four

The Big Four of Mitch Marner, William Nylander, John Tavares and Auston Matthews has been looked at by many as the reason the Maple Leafs would NOT win a Stanley Cup. The drag on the salary cap caused by their lucrative contracts and the subsequent lack of depth are simply too much to overcome.

As a group, they are averaging over a point per game this season. Marner set a new Leafs franchise record with points in 23 straight games and has been the team’s most consistent player. Nylander is on pace to reach the 40-goal mark for the first time in his career. Tavares worked on his skating over the summer and has shown a new jump in his step. Matthews got off to a slow start, but the reigning Hart and Art Ross Trophy winner will heat up at some point. If Matthews is the weakest link offensively, that is something that is likely to sort itself out.

This group also has another year of playoff disappointment under their belt and are aware that their window to win a Stanley Cup as a unit may be closing. The sense of urgency has never been higher with this group.

Defensive Depth

The number of injuries and length of time some veteran players have missed early in the season should prove to be a blessing at playoff time. Every Stanley Cup championship team has had a lot of depth on the back end.

With Morgan Rielly, T.J. Brodie, and Jake Muzzin missing significant time, players such as Justin Holl, Rasmus Sandin, Timothy Liljegren, Mark Giordano, and the recently acquired Conor Timmins have been pushed into more minutes and passed with flying colours. When you add in the veteran leadership of Giordano and Jordie Benn, the Maple Leafs now have a solid stable of responsible defencemen.

Even if Muzzin does not return from his neck injury this season, head coach Sheldon Keefe can call upon as many as eight blue-liners that could step in during a long playoff run. Of course, general manager Kyle Dubas will also be looking to add more depth before the trade deadline.


That’s right, goaltending! The gamble by Dubas has paid off so far this season. Bringing in veteran Matt Murray from the Ottawa Senators and steady back-up Ilya Samsonov from the Washington Capitals has stabilized a position that was the biggest question mark coming into the season.

Murray has looked like the goalie that led the Pittsburgh Penguins to two Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. After recovering from an injury early in the season, he has provided consistent efforts and even stolen a game here and there. When Murray was out, Samsonov stepped up and kept his team in most games, despite the team struggling at times in front of him.

Remember, the Colorado Avalanche proved the theory that outstanding goaltending is not necessary to win the Stanley Cup. Last season, Darcy Kuemper posted a .902 save percentage, good enough to give the team 16 wins in the postseason.


The appearance of Maple Leafs legend Borje Salming earlier this year had an effect on the entire organization and the city. If ever there was something or someone to rally around, it would be Salming, who passed away shortly after his emotional visit to Toronto for the Hockey Hall of Fame weekend.

Salming was a trailblazer as the first Swede to play in the NHL. He was a warrior for dealing with all the physical abuse he took on a nightly basis. And he was an inspiration to many as he battled ALS.

His #21 hangs in the rafters. Salming’s likeness is on Legends Row. His presence is felt by the current players each time they step on the ice. For Borje.

It’s Just Time

Enough already! Two generations have endured ridicule about planning parades after one playoff win and getting pictures of the Stanley Cup in colour.

Everyone knows about the collapse against the Bruins in 2013, the stunning upset at the hands of the hated Canadiens in 2021 and the opportunity lost when leading the Lightning in the third period of Game 6 last season. The lessons and Leafs playoff struggles are over.

This team has gone through all the steps of a rebuild. They finished last overall in 2016, won the NHL Draft Lottery and selected the generational talent in Matthews to go with existing building blocks Nylander in 2014 and Marner in 2015.

In 2018, the team signed free agent John Tavares, who had been captain of the New York Islanders for five seasons. The new captain has helped the team mature and provided leadership on and off the ice.

Then, early in 2019, head coach Mike Babcock was fired and replaced by Keefe, who was being groomed for the position while he gained experience with the Toronto Marlies. The new-look team now had a new-look front office with Dubas and Keefe.

One step is left. It’s time to prove the naysayers wrong with a parade down Yonge Street and colour pictures of the Stanley Cup.



Main Photo: TORONTO, ON – MARCH 8: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Seattle Kraken during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on March 8, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Kraken 6-4. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)


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