Columnist: Maple Leafs on par with Blue Jackets

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Things are pretty grim in Toronto. The Leafs’ playoff chances are all but snuffed out and last night’s humiliation in Boston — an 8-0 shellacking that included Milan Lucic whaling on Mike Komisarek — has left certain folks disillusioned.

Two of those folk appear to be Mark Zwolinski and Bob Mitchell of the Toronto Star, who recently collaborated on an article titled “Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets in dead heat“.

Zwolinski and Mitchell compared the two organizations — using 30th-place CBJ as the low benchmark, of course — to see just what kind of shape Toronto was in.

The conclusion? Not very good.

This is how bad it’s become for the Maple Leafs: They are on par with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Not in the standings, where the Leafs hold a comfortable edge this season, but when comparing the franchises top to bottom — with what promises to be a busy off-season fast approaching.

The comparison is broken down into five categories:  Goaltending, Prospects, Defence, Forwards and Off-Season. Toronto got the edge in prospects, forwards and off-season (based largely on the assumption the Leafs will go hard after Rick Nash) while Columbus got the nod in defense and goaltending.

PHT Aside: That CBJ is deemed to have better goaltending than any NHL club either 1) throws the entire article’s legitimacy into doubt, or 2) says a more about the Jonas Gustavsson and James Reimer than their pedestrian numbers ever could.

In a related story, the Leafs sit 24th overall in the NHL standings (72 points) with nine games remaining in the regular season. That’s only one point clear of 25th-place Tampa Bay, two clear of 26th-place Minnesota and three clear of New York and Montreal, both on 69 points.

Should the Leafs continue to stagger down the stretch, there’s a very real possibility they’ll be drafting in the top five — something they haven’t done since 2008, when they took Luke Schenn fifth overall.

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