Welcome to our offseason initiative — 30 teams in 30 days.
From July 16 until Aug. 14, we’ll be dedicating each day to a new team by recapping the offseason and looking ahead to 2012-13.
There will also be a series of posts looking at key stories, player profiles and burning questions regarding each squad.
Today, that squad is the Toronto Maple Leafs.
For a good portion of the 2011-12 campaign, it looked like the Toronto Maple Leafs would be a serious contender for a playoff spot. However, a late-season collapse resulted in the firing of head coach Ron Wilson and sent Toronto all the way down to 13th place in the Eastern Conference.
By far their biggest move over the summer was the trade of Luke Schenn to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for James van Riemsdyk. There’s been some talk that van Riemsdyk might shift to center and serve on a line with Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul.
The biggest question surrounding Toronto right now is their goaltending. As things stand, the Leafs are poised to go into the season with youngsters James Reimer and Ben Scrivens as their netminding duo. Both have promise, but Leafs GM Brian Burke might still attempt to hedge his bets by signing a veteran backup or even acquire starter Roberto Luongo.
There was also a report that the Leafs had interest in Jonathan Bernier, although he’s not exactly a safe bet either.
The Leafs haven’t made the playoffs since the lockout. Is this the year that changes?
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger