Former Leaf and current radio host does not believe the Leafs are a legitimate contender

Published April 11, 2022 at 6:35 PM
BY BRADLEY CELSIE
With the Leafs having clinched a playoff berth with their 100th point of the season on Saturday, the focus will now shift to how they'll fare in the postseason and who their playoff opponent may be in the first round.

Former Leafs defenseman and current Host of TSN's First Up, Carlo Colaiacovo, admitted early Monday morning that he does not believe the Leafs are a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. You can listen to the clip below:


Colaiacovo was drafted in the first round (17th overall) by the Toronto Maple Leafs back in 2001. He spent parts of seven seasons in the organization, but largely due to multiple injuries, only played 111 career games for the Toronto Maple Leafs. In 2009, Leafs fans may remember that Colaiacovo and Alex Steen were traded by the new Leafs' General Manager at the time (Brian Burke) to the St. Louis Blues for Lee Stempniak.


In fairness to Colaiacovo, his logic is sound. Typically, Stanley Cup winners have had some recent playoff success. As we are all aware, the Leafs have not won a playoff series since 2004. The Leafs have made the playoffs each of the last five seasons, however, were bounced in their first round each time.

Looking back at the Tampa Bay Lightning, Stanley Cup winners in 2020 & 2021, they were also 2018 Conference Finalists that featured the same core group of players. However, they were swept the following season in the first round by the Columbus Blue Jackets. So while they did have a great disappointment the year before winning a Championship, they had some previous playoff success prior to winning it all.

Then we look at the 2018 Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals and 2019 Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues. They each had won three playoff series in the three years prior to winning their Championships. Showing again that playoff success normally starts smaller before growing into a championship-caliber team.

Of course, there's still a chance that this Leafs team, who is very special by all appearances, could end up being a bit of an outlier and go on a run that nobody sees coming. Never count out Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.

A lot of Leafs fans, some analysts and even fans from other teams have been vocal about their thoughts that, had the Leafs not gone cold against the Habs, they'd have had an easy track to at least the Conference Finals. However, we don't operate on hypotheticals, and we can only go off of the information that we have. The fact of the matter is that this Leafs core has not gone on any sustained runs in the postseason. They have lots to prove this year.
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