Toronto Maple Leafs: 10 Storylines to Follow This Seasons

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Nov 23, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock talks to center Nick Spaling (16) against the Boston Bruins at Air Canada Centre. The Bruins beat the Maple Leafs 4-3 in the shootout. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Playoff Nation or Tank Nation?

Many were expecting the Leafs to be a train wreck this season but it has not been as miserable as many have expected. In the month of October the Leafs could have won more games if their goaltending was better and if they were not as snake bitten offensively.

For the tank nation crowd, October was a good month, November not so much. At one point the Leafs were three points out of a playoff spot, but the Eastern Conference is a tight race with many teams having a realistic chance to make the playoffs.

Will the Montreal Canadiens stay atop the East moving forward? Leafs fans hope they don’t and now teams like the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals are close to overtaking them.

Nov 23, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center

Leo Komarov

(47) is congratulated on his goal by center

Nazem Kadri

(43) after scoring past Boston Bruins goalie

Tuukka Rask

(40) at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Now when it comes to where the Leafs will be when the trade deadline approaches, there is no doubt that management will stick to their plan and try to load up on assets and not give up on any prospects just to make a run at the playoffs. This team has committed to building properly and although the team has a chance to make the playoffs we know that it would probably be a waste at this point, especially with the talent available in the draft this year.

I am leaning less towards the Leafs being among the bottom three teams in the league because it looks like the Edmonton Oilers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Buffalo Sabres and other teams could be in the mix for the bottom three spots. The Leafs could realistically fall into the same position as last season where they could be in the hunt for a lottery pick, but could end up picking in the top five which would not be a bad thing given the talent available in the top five.

One thing that Leafs’ fans should be glad with is the fact that the team is not trying to blatantly tank like the Arizona Coyotes and Sabres did last season because neither one got Connor McDavid. There are no guarantees in a lottery system and thankfully that makes fewer teams eager to tank because nobody wins in that scenario.

Next: Can Jonathan Bernier Regain his Confidence?