2) Would the Leafs have even qualified for the playoffs?
No doubt a lot of non-Toronto Maple Leafs fans are wondering if the team would even make the playoffs in the first place. In fairness, this is a reasonable question to ask.
When the season was suspended, the Leafs were in third place in the Atlantic Division. In reality, only the Florida Panthers could catch them in the standings.
As things stood at close of play, the Leafs were three points ahead of the Panthers. However, Florida had a game in hand and were scheduled to play Toronto one final time in 2019-20.
This is where things could have got dicey for the Leafs, with the Panthers winning two of the three encounters so far this season. This becomes more worrisome, when considering Florida scored 16 goals in those three games.
It was essentially a case of all or nothing for the Leafs and Panthers, with realistically no wild card spot to rely on. The Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets had a firm hold on the two wild card; the Canadiens were the closest challenger from the Atlantic Division, but sitting seven points behind Florida in the standings.
For what it’s worth, the most recent game between the Leafs and Panthers saw the former pick up their first win of the season series. Even more encouraging was that the 5-3 win came on the road in Florida, where Tampa Bay held an excellent home record of 22-10-2.
However, as Leafs fans are painfully aware, for every impressive win they might have obtained over the likes of the Panthers, Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins, there have been just as many head-scratching losses. Exhibit A would be the recent disastrous West Coast road trip, where they only managed one point out of a possible six against the three worst teams in the Western Conference.
The inconsistency of the Leafs made their chances of qualifying for the playoffs almost impossible to predict with any real confidence. However, in what was for all intents and purposes a 50-50 proposition, we would have them just making it. Just.