Leafs superstars Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner
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A look ahead at the Leafs' next 13 games leading to plenty of concern ahead of the deadline

Published February 11, 2024 at 12:26
BY MIKE ARMENTI
The Toronto Maple Leafs may still have 3 games in hand on the Tampa Bay Lightning, but after last night's loss to Ottawa, the Leafs now find themselves back in a Wild Card spot, at least temporarily. After winning 4 of 5 games before the All-Star break, the Leafs have come out of the break sporting a 1-2-0 record, which isn't exactly putting their best foot forward as we approach the trade deadline.

Obviously, the odds still heavily favour the Leafs making the playoffs. However, if Morgan Rielly does end up facing a lengthy suspension, it could create some additional adversity that the Leafs will need to overcome to avoid missing the playoffs or entering in a Wild Card position.

The next 5 games on the docket for the Leafs are against St. Louis, Philadelphia, Anaheim, St. Louis and Arizona. Now, I don't want to get ahead of myself or assume anything, but the Leafs should certainly be able to bank 10 points here. If not 10, then at least 8. This will be very important, as their following 8 games leading up to the March 8th trade deadline will be against the likes of Vegas, Colorado, Vegas (again), Arizona, New York, Boston, Buffalo, Boston (again). That's not exactly a favourable schedule.

The Leafs' position in the standings following these next 13 games will ultimately determine what they do at the trade deadline. If the team continues to drop points to inferior teams like St. Louis, Anaheim, Arizona and last night's loss to Ottawa, it's not going to give Brad Treliving much faith in the team's ability to win in the playoffs and may result on the team punting on this season and preparing for next year.


The other option Treliving has available to him is simply to add now to improve his team's chances of posting a better record over these next 13 games ahead of the March 8th trade deadline. Even if he's not making all of his roster additions at once, surely it couldn't hurt to add a defenseman to better position his team to be able to succeed and allow the coaching staff and management more time to evaluate ahead of March 8th. Some tough decisions ahead for Treliving and company and those decisions may be made a little more difficult if Rielly ends up having to serve a suspension of 5 games or more when the hammer finally does come down for his cross-check on Ridly Greig on Saturday night.
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A look ahead at the Leafs' next 13 games leading to plenty of concern ahead of the deadline

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