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Examining the Toronto Maple Leafs

Monday, 09.17.2007 / 11:48 AM / Season Preview

By Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

Complete Maple Leafs Analysis:
Intro | Goalies | Defense | Forwards
Feature | Numbers | Sked | Roster

Leafs hope for a more robust 2007-08

The Toronto Maple Leafs know just how fragile a season can be. The Maple Leafs missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a second-straight season, falling just one point short of the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference.

Clearly, health issues played a huge part in Toronto’s failure. Darcy Tucker, Kyle Wellwood and Mike Peca all missed significant time because of injury. But injuries cannot be an excuse in a physical sport such as hockey. So, Leafs General Manager John Ferguson Jr., has spent much of the summer addressing the depth of his team. He added a potential No. 1 goalie in Vesa Toskala, a 40-goal scorer in Jason Blake, a potential second-line winger in Mark Bell and goalie depth in Scott Clemmensen.

Those additions, especially Blake and Toskala, will have a huge impact on the 2007-08 season and will hopefully translate into the one point in the standings that Maple Leaf nation obsessed about all summer.

But make no mistake, it is the returning cast that will define the Maple Leafs’ season. Captain Mats Sundin is back for another year, signing a one-year deal. Defensemen Bryan McCabe, Pavel Kubina and Tomas Kaberle also will be looking to rebound with stronger performances this season. Goalie Andrew Raycroft, meanwhile, will be looking to hold onto the No. 1 job in the face of a stiff challenge from Toskala.

2006-07 Record:
40-31-11, 3rd Northeast

Who's In:
G Vesa Toskala, F Mark Bell, F Jason Blake, G Scott Clemmensen

Who's Out:
F Mike Peca, D Karel Pilar, F Yanick Perreault

2006-07 Leading Scorers:
Mats Sundin (27-49-76), Tomas Kaberle (11-47-58), Bryan McCabe (15-42-57), Alexei Ponikarovsky (21-24-45), Darcy Tucker (24-19-43)

2006-07 Goaltending Leaders:
Andrew Raycroft 37-25-9, 2.99 GAA, 72 appearances, .894 save percentage, 2 shutouts; J-S Aubin 3-5-2, 3.43 GAA, 20 appearances, .876 save percentage, 0 shutouts

NHL.com's 2007-08 Maple Leafs Season Preview Package:
Intro | Goalies | Defense | Forwards | Feature | Numbers | Sked | Roster
Quote of the Day

I feel that responsibility, I've felt it for the last two years. We core guys get a lot of minutes, we get a lot of opportunity out there. Our teammates, the organization and fans look to us to be the guys to put the puck in the net and to create momentum out there.

— Jordan Eberle on taking his game and the Edmonton Oilers to the next level