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Some Bold Leafs Predictions

Are we ready for the next level of Leafs hockey?

Auston Matthews has signed an extension, Sheldon Keefe is sticking around, there have been virtually no trades or meaningful signings, and I’ve already written two articles on William Nylander. 


What now?



How about 620 words of wildly inaccurate and heavily optimistic scoring predictions for this upcoming season?



Well, that’s what this one’s gonna be, so get ready.



Auston Matthews, the highest-paid player in NHL history and owner of the best regular season in Leafs franchise history just two seasons ago will be looking to get back on top of the scoring race.



It’s clear that he seemed to take a bit of a step back last season after proving that he could net 60 goals in a career-best 106-point season.



Matthews had 40 goals and 85 points last season but watched as Connor McDavid forcefully ripped the goal-scoring title from his hands, netting a whopping 64 goals, while Matthews sat tied with Kirill Kaprizov at 14th.



After what seemed like a cooldown year, I think Matthews is gearing up for another monster season.



He’s proven he can score 60, and now Connor’s gone and scored 64. Is 65 out of reach for Auston Matthews? I don’t think so.



If he’s getting ready for a massive year goals-wise, he’ll be looking to Mitch Marner to set him up. Which brings me to my next prediction.



This will be the year Mitch Marner finally breaks the 100-point threshold.



After back-to-back seasons coming just shy of 100, hitting 97 in 2022 and 99 last year, it’s only a matter of time before Marner finally breaks through.



Nobody’s questioning his abilities when it comes to point scoring. The man’s a setup master and a point-producing machine. As I said, with Auston Matthews chasing another scoring title, Mitch Marner will be on his wing setting him up the whole way, piling up the assists.



Should William Nylander head into this season without a contract in place for next year, he’ll be on the hunt to prove his value to his team and get the maximum AAV out of Brad Treliving.



After he reportedly asked for upwards of $10 million for his next deal, the Leafs seemed to shoot him down, tabling an offer likely around the $8.5 million range.



If that’s the case, it’ll be Nylander's chance to prove them wrong.



Nylander finally joined the 40-goal club last season and topped it off with a career-best 87 points. Was that Nylander at his peak? If it’s not, could we see him approach 50 goals?



Should he come anywhere near 50, say, 45+, he may punch his ticket out of Toronto and go get rich on the open market. A 50-goal-UFA  winger isn’t something that comes around too often, and he’d be hitting the market at the same time as the salary cap goes up significantly for the first time since 2019.



If Nylander can improve on his totals last season, his time in Toronto may be over.



What About some of the Leafs' new additions? While Tyler Bertuzzi is coming off a down season with just eight goals and 30 points, playing with the Leafs' top six could very well see him return to his 30-goal, sixty-point form.



Max Domi is coming off the second-best season of his career, where he played for one of the most depleted rosters in the entire NHL. If he’s capable of scoring 20 goals and 56 points with the Blackhawks, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him hit a career-high 30 goals in Toronto.



With the Leafs season creeping closer, fans are anticipating a big year out of the team and the individual players new and old. However it shakes out, it’s sure to be entertaining.

Dave Felsbourg

Saturday, September 9, 2023

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