Toronto Maple Leafs: Is this team simply not good enough to compete?

Logan O'Connor #25 of the Colorado Avalanche takes a hit from Zach Hyman #11 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Logan O'Connor #25 of the Colorado Avalanche takes a hit from Zach Hyman #11 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

With another tough loss, the Toronto Maple Leafs are now sitting at a 13-13-4 record with 30 points through 30 games and trying to get to 100 points might seem far out of reach.

There have been plenty of things to talk about this season with the Toronto Maple LeafsMike Babcock getting fired, the backup goaltender situation, and injuries all seem to be the new narratives.

Then there are the usual ones, like the defence not being good enough or the Leafs not being gritty enough or willing to work harder than their opponents. No matter which combination of things you believe to be true, it all comes down to this team simply not being good enough.

The fact of the matter is that this roster can’t really change much. The Leafs are right up against the salary cap and that’s preventing them from making any significant moves, including bringing in a more reliable backup goaltender.

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Yes, this team has also dealt with significant injuries but so does every team in the league. The Boston Bruins had a ton of man-games lost to injuries last season and they still managed to finish with 107 points. So throw that excuse out the window.

Isn’t this team supposed to be better on paper? Sure. The game isn’t played on paper though, and you never really know what to expect until you see the finished product on the ice. There’s now a big enough sample size to say that this team isn’t as good as we thought it would be.

I wrote an article recently touching on how Sheldon Keefe will face pressure immediately coming into this market and taking over a team that’s struggling. He got through the first week fine and even left fans optimistic. Now he faces his first true test in trying to get the Leafs back on track.

At the beginning of the season, there was optimism that this team could have a chance at winning the Atlantic Division. Now they’re just trying to sneak into the playoffs.

Somewhere between 95-100 points seems like the magic number for making the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Toronto would have to get between 65-70 points in 52 games to get into that range. Impossible? Definitely not, but it’s going to be difficult.

They can’t afford to give away points every time they start their backup goalie, and they’ll have to beat the teams they’re supposed to beat. It starts with a tough four-game road trip on Saturday that begins in St. Louis and takes them through Western Canada to play the Canucks, Flames, and Oilers.

If they can get through that with some success, they’ve got some winnable games the rest of the month. Just remember, the game isn’t played on paper. Toronto will have to go out there and prove how good they really are, even against weaker opponents. It’s definitely going to be an interesting rest of the season for the Leafs.

Next. Don’t get worked up about Nathan MacKinnon’s comments. dark

Do you think the Leafs can start to play to their potential or is their pursuit of the playoffs going to be too tough to overcome? Let us know in the comments below.