Aug. 22, 2021
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Tampa's defenseman. I know that it is a narrative to suggest that size matters in hockey now but it does when it comes to defence in the playoffs. We have seen this for 2 years now. Tampa's defencemen are not only big, but are mobile and good puck movers. All 6 starting tampa defence are above 6'0 with 4/6 being 215 pounds and up. Hedman is around 240 pounds, Sergachev is around 215, McDonough is around 220. This is hard to play against when forchecking is crucial in playoffs.
This team doesn't make mistakes very often but when they do, the BIG CAT is in net and will save them. Finally, Tampa as acquired Paul and Hagel who are gritty and somewhat fast. I'm not sure Toronto's 4th and 3rd line match Tampa's skill.
In my opinion with the addition of Muzzin and Giordano, I believe Toronto can handle nearly any team defensively however, outside of the Mathews - Bunting - Marner line... Toronto cant handle the depth of Florida. They most likely have the best 3rd line in the league and the Tavares line on the second line won't be able to handle the speed of Duclair, the physicality of Bennet, or the skill of Huberdeau.
Toronto will most likely be in the #2-#4 range of the Atlantic division meaning either Tampa or Florida is likely as well as Boston. Boston isn't a big concern, out of the 3 of them as a Toronto fan I would rather play Boston. Toronto will have to deal with either Tampa or Floria to make conference finals. Either way Toronto will have to control a situation I believe they can't handle by playing against the big bad 6 of Tampa's back end or taking on the top 12 forwards against Florida.
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN FOR TORONTO TO WIN THE ATLANTIC DIVISION TITLE IN PLAYOFFS:
- MATHEWS NEEDS TO STEP UP AND CONTINUE HIS DOMINATION.
- CAMPBELL NEEDS TO RETURN TO VEZINA FORM AS HE WAS FROM SEPTEMBER TO DECEMBER.
- MITCH MARNER NEEDS TO SHOW UP IN THE PLAYOFFS.
- GIORDANO, HOLL, MUZZIN NEED TO STEP UP AS THE DEFENSIVE DEFENCEMAN AND PHYSICAL PLAYERS IN THE PLAYOFFS.
BEST OF LUCK MAPLE LEAFS! - RANKERS