Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews
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The Maple Leafs are now the odds on favourite to win the Cup

Published March 3, 2024 at 2:01 PM
BY MIKE ARMENTI

The New York Rangers came into Toronto on Saturday as the second best team in the East by points percentage with the hopes of banking another two points. However, when the dust had settled, it was the Maple Leafs who skated away with the two points, though the Rangers did bank 1 in the shootout loss in Toronto.

There are a number of teams who have already all but clinched a playoff berth, with most teams having 20-22 games remaining on their schedule. The Rangers, for example, have a 99.97% likelihood to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and we're barely into March. The Leafs are another team who appear poised to clinch a playoff berth in the coming weeks, with a 99.6% likelihood to qualify for the postseason, per Money Puck.

Perhaps the most interesting detail about the playoff picture right now, according to Money Puck's data, is that the Toronto Maple Leafs are actually the favourites, per their model, to win the Stanley Cup as it currently stands. The Leafs, at 11.3% to win the Cup, have a slight edge over the Carolina Hurricanes (11%), and the Vancouver Canucks (10.4%) as of this morning.




Of course, we shouldn't be planning any parades, because we all know how this story goes. We've seen it countless times, where the Leafs manage to find themselves in an advantageous position in round 1, only to wash out early in embarrassing fashion. We saw it against Columbus, we saw it against Montreal, and last year, we saw it against Florida, with the Leafs failing to even put up a fight in their round 2 matchup against the Panthers.

Hopefully this year will yield a different result for the Leafs, but it's all going to start with what they do at this year's trade deadline. If they part with any pieces of real consequence, they'll have to ensure that they're getting back the right piece, someone with term, to avoid losing key picks and prospects in a deal for a player who walks away again in the summer, much like what we saw with Ryan O'Reilly and Nick Foligno in recent years. If they can bring in the right piece(s) this year, who knows how far they'll go, especially given the fact that they currently have the best odds of winning. Unfortunately, it's not called the Marchley Cup and they have a lot to prove in April, May and beyond.
POLL
March 3   |   486 answers
The Maple Leafs are now the odds on favourite to win the Cup

Who do you have as your Cup favourites right now?

Oilers8216.9 %
Leafs29961.5 %
Canucks10521.6 %
Other00 %
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