Oh boy, we’re getting close!
With training camps underway any day now and the NHL pre-season right around the corner, I am FIRED UP about getting back to the hockey season.
Summer is great, with school being out, vacations taking place, and warm weather for a few months, and when the comforting warmth of summer dissipates into colder and longer nights, most people dread the inevitable coming of winter.
Then there’s us.
Yes, you too. Face it, if you’re reading this, you ARE a hardcore hockey fan.
We take solace in the shorter days and cooler temperatures as we know the most wonderful time of the year is quickly approaching.
I don’t mean Christmas, although it does give me the same feeling I had as a kid waking up and meeting my family at the tree in the morning on the 25th of December.
I mean hockey season. I’m giddy like a schoolboy.
Every year brings new faces.
But most importantly, new hot takes.
I have my fair share of these; below is a list of said takes I’ve compiled for you, and I encourage you to tell me whether my takes are red hot, ice cold, or whatever the middle is… Lukewarm?
(Is that even a thing?)
Anyways, here they are :
20.) Auston Matthews scores 50 and is in the top 5 in Selke voting…I think he lands somewhere in the middle of the last two seasons and easily cracks 50; that number could even be higher. He will also continue his stellar defensive play
19.) Mitch Marner scores 110 points and finishes in the top 3 in Selke voting…Marner plays on the top PK unit and was 1 point shy of 100 in 2022-23, all while being top 3 in Selke voting. I say he cracks that 100 and gets right back there.
18.) Matthew Knies scores 25+ goals, and 60+ points and places top 3 in Calder votes… Knies got off to a great start with the Leafs, and he looks mature and very skilled. I fully expect him to surprise everyone this year and score a lot.
17.) Timothy Lilijegren scores 10 goals and becomes a staple in the top 4…Lily rolling in the top 4 full-time is something the Leafs need from him. I say his play is so good that Keefe CAN’T bench him.
16.) Joe Woll plays all season in the NHL, winning the backup job… and still refuses to participate in social media. Treliving is betting on him, and so am I. Goalies are weird.
15.) Max Domi becomes a fan favorite and scores 20 goals while being on one of the most lethal 3rd line scoring lines in the league…The first half should be a lock; the second half, I don’t think, will be tough for who he’s going to get the chances to play with.
14.) John Klingberg puts up 50 points and still becomes the Leafs’ new whipping boy because of a few ill-timed gaffs in big moments…Leafs Nation loves a whipping boy. Let’s just hope he gets the points.
13.)Ryan Reaves leads the Atlantic division in fights and PIM…I mean, I’m not saying I think the Leafs, as a team, led mostly by Reaves, WILL lead their division in fights. I’m just saying there’s a chance.
12.) Nick Robertson stays healthy all year and breaks out as a legitimate secondary scorer on the third line with Domi. I want this so bad for him. His shot is lethal, and he plays hard. Hopefully, as he gets older, he gains the strength he needs and avoid the injury bug.
11.) Calle Jarnkrok becomes a Minnesota Wild… Somethings gotta give here, Brad. We can’t go into the season OVER the cap. What are your plans, sir?
10.) Ilya Samsonov is my number 1 fantasy goalie, and makes me look smart for taking him early in the draft. Also finishes with 35+ wins and a 920+ save percentage… I am hoping to god this one is true. Both the Leafs and I are counting on a big year from him.
9.) John Tavares plays almost every game and remains a near-PPG player… Until proven otherwise, this one is an easy lock. I should probably try to grab him again in fantasy this year, and he has massive value with his faceoff wins alone.
8.) This team strips Sheldon Keefe of the last few dark-colored hairs on his head, and he is a full silver fox by season’s end…That happens to a guy who deals with what he has.
7.) Morgan Rielly continues his play from the playoffs and gets off to a hot start, putting him in early Norris conversations… He was the Leafs best player in the postseason, and I see him staying hot into this regular season.
6.) William Nylander scores 90 points again… We all talk about where he will play next season and who will pay him 10.5 million. He eventually signs back with the Leafs.
5.) Tyler Bertuzzi has a MONSTER year, putting up 30 goals and 60+ points…Everyone pretends they forget he was an anti-vaxxer.
4.) David Kampf scores more points shorthanded than at 5 on 5… He and Marner are so electric on the PK. He’s been a great add, a defensive gem, and if they put him with the right partners (in the past, Mikheyev, Engvall, Kase), he CAN generate offense.
3.) Pontus Holmberg wins a job on the Leafs and scores 15+ goals… I want to be right about this one, but I feel he could be used as an up-and-down guy. He IS waiver-exempt, and he’s probably going to be a casualty of that practice early on anyway. Once he starts scoring all of those goals, he’ll get more playing time.
2.) Martin Jones finishes the season with an 890 save percentage and still somehow wins 10 games… He was clutch for the Kraken last year, playing 48 games, winning 27 of them while sporting a .887 SV%, and I’m hoping we get those wins if and when needed.
I still expect a big year from both Samsonov and Woll, though. Unfortunately, injuries happen, and I think all my goalie takes can come true.
1.) The Toronto Maple Leafs will win the Atlantic division and be in the race for the president’s trophy. Book it. They’re doing it this year.
I’m excited for this season to begin; a little impatient though. I wish training camps would start the first week of September, after Labour Day, like public schools where I’m from, here in Kingston, Ontario.
Can we please just drop the puck already?
Oh boy, we’re getting close!