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Previewing the East: Toronto

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT – Ready for some hockey?

Sure you are.

The Red Wings don’t open training camp until Sept. 19 in Traverse City, but over the next eight weeks's Bill Roose will preview the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference, including the Red Wings’ Atlantic Division rivals in Boston, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Florida and Buffalo. This week it's the Toronto Maple Leafs:

Coach: Randy Carlyle

Last Year: 38-36-8, 84 points (12th in Eastern Conference)
Detroit vs. Maple Leafs: 3-0-1
5-on-5 Goals: 153 (sixth in Eastern Conference)
Power Play Efficiency: 50-for-252, 19.8 percent (fourth in Eastern Conference)

2013-14 Stats Vs. Red Wings
Player POS AGE rank GM G A PT. GM G A PT.
Phil Kessel RW 26 6 82 37 43 80 4 0 2 2
James Van Riemsdyk LW 25 39 80 30 31 61 4 2 1 3
Nazem Kadri C 23 90 78 20 30 50 4 0 0 0
Tyler Bozak C 28 96 58 19 30 49 3 1 0 1
Mason Raymond LW 28 113 82 19 26 45 4 0 0 0
2013-14 Stats
Goalie AGE Rank GM W L OTL GAA SV%
Jonathan Bernier 26 16 55 26 19 7 2.68 .923
vs. Red Wings
3 1 1 1 2.50 .928

2014-15 OUTLOOK

Regular-Season Games vs. Red Wings: Oct. 17 (at TOR); Oct. 18 (at DET); Nov. 22 (at TOR); Dec. 10 (at DET); Dec. 13 (at TOR).

ARRIVALS:  Forwards David Booth, Mike Santorelli, Matt Frattin, Leo Komarov, Petri Kontiola; and defensemen Roman Polak and Stephane Robidas.

DEPARTURES:Forwards Dave Bolland, Nikolai Kulemin, Mason Raymond and Jay McClement; defensemen T.J. Brennan, Carl Gunnarsson, Tim Gleason and Paul Ranger; and goalie Drew MacIntyre.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Several NHL teams showed an interest in 37-year-old defenseman Stephane Robidas, including the Red Wings, but at the end of the day, the 13-year veteran chose the Maple Leafs. Last month, Robidas, who broke his leg twice last season, said he was about 95 percent recovered and should be ready by training camp. It’s expected that Robidas will be partnered with either Morgan Rielly or Jake Gardiner on the second D-pairing. He will give the Leafs a veteran presence on the blue line, plus he gives them another right-handed shooting D-man to go with Roman Polak and Cody Franson.

SEASON SCOPE: New Toronto president Brendan Shanahan has made it crystal clear that the team is looking to find “competitive people” to add to the Leafs’ roster. Problem is he ran up against competition from more appealing destinations in the off-season, and didn’t land any of the big fish he had hoped to reel in, namely, defenseman Josh Gorges (who went to Buffalo), center Jason Spezza (to Dallas) and UFA Dan Boyle (to the New York Rangers). All three snubbed the Leafs, winding up in different locales. The Leafs couldn’t even convince hometown boy Dave Bolland to stick around, and backup goalie James Reimer, who believes he’s still a contender for a No. 1 job, has asked to be traded, though that’s unlikely to happen.

Following their spring collapse when critics placed blame on coach randy Carlyle and the lack of leadership from captain Dion Phaneuf, Leafs management fired three assistant coaches in May. The organization hired former Florida head coach Peter Horachek and Marlies coach Steve Spott to assist Carlyle behind the bench. Spott was credited for making a positive impact with Toronto’s AHL club, and he has a working relationship with Leafs forwards David Clarkston and Nazem Kadri.

Atlantic Division Metropolitan Division
Buffalo (July 24) Carolina (Aug. 7)
Boston (sep. 11) Columbus (Aug. 21)
Florida (July 29) New Jersey (Aug. 14)
Montreal (Sep. 2) NY Islanders (July 31)
Ottawa (Aug. 12) NY Rangers (Aug. 28)
Tampa Bay (Sep. 4) Philadelphia (Aug. 26)
Toronto (Aug. 5) Pittsburgh (sep. 9)
Washington (Aug. 19)

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