The Toronto Maple Leafs are a very good hockey team; there’s not much disputing that. Are they playing like a good team? At the moment, no they are not.
After taking a 4-2 home loss to the lowly Arizona Coyotes on Monday, the Maple Leafs have won just two of their first four games. To make matters worse, their losses came again the league’s two worst teams from a season ago in the form of the ‘Yotes and Montreal Canadiens. To put it mildly, it just hasn’t been good enough.
As we sit here today, only the Colorado Avalanche sport shorter odds than the Maple Leafs’ +800 mark to win the 2023 Stanley Cup. As a result, the club simply doesn’t hold enough value at this point.
That doesn’t mean Toronto should be written off altogether, however.
Patience is a Virtue
Let’s not write them off completely. This is a team that gave the two-time reigning Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning a heck of a run for their money in last year’s first round and was arguably the better team in the process. Toronto is not an easy out.
So, let’s wait a minute. After all, we’re only four games into the season. There’s 78 to play. Barring a catastrophe, they’ll be in the playoffs. Why would we buy in right now during a time when they’re not playing their best hockey? The value lies ahead
This remains a team to keep an eye in despite an inauspicious start to their season. The Maple Leafs boast one of the top forwards groups in the NHL. Their much-maligned defense is much better than the average NHL fan wants to believe. An early-season injury to Matt Murray leaves plenty of question marks between the pipes;
At the end of the day, the value just isn’t there right now. We’ve also yet to reach November, so be patient when it comes to a team that will be a threat come spring.
A Look Elsewhere
Looking around the league, where’s some early-season value?
How about the Edmonton Oilers? They sport the same +1200 odds that the Flames, Panthers and Rangers do. Heck, they’re even above said Lightning. With two of the world’s vest very players on board, the Oilers are worth a look.
The Rangers can also make a case. As long as Igor Shesterkin is playing goal, this will be a competitive hockey team. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner is perfect through three starts and will remain steady moving forward.
Lastly, let’s not sleep on the Knights. Vegas looks to be off to a hot start and Jack Eichel is healthy. At +200, Vegas might be a serious threat in that Western Conference.
Regardless of who you like, pump the brakes on the Maple Leafs until they can impose their will moving forward.
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