After a great effort in Detroit, the Leafs have had problems putting good performances going 1-2-2 after 5 games. The offense is in a deep coma, scoring only 9 goals (4 against St.Louis) since the beginning of the season. The defense has been on a roller coaster, offering inconsistent performances and allowing 18 goals.
Vesa Toska was stellar against the Wings and the Rangers, but was not very sharp against the Blues and the Habs.
On defense, Luke Schenn is a pleasant surprise, logging around 20 minutes a game and playing like a 10-year veteran. Will the Leafs send him back to junior after 9 games or will they keep him? They will have a boatload of d-men when Finger comes back from injury; Ian White has yet to appear in a game and is practising as as forward
Tomas Kaberle and Pavel Kubina have been far from extraordinay and will have to raise their play for the Leafs to improve.
Up front, Jason Blake, Nikolai Kulemin and Nick Antropov have been the best and more consistent players. On the opposite, Ponikarovsky, Stajan and Grabosvki have been almost invisible, Stajan even being a healthy scratch vs St. Louis. Niklas Hagman will never score 27 goals with the Maple Leafs...
However, Ron Wilson will need secondary scoring from these players if he wants his team to at least compete every night. I doubt any player will hit the 50-point mark this season as this is a young and inexperimented team.
The Tavares-Hedman race is on, and the Leafs are the favourite to win it!
The other candidates are the Panthers, the Islanders and the Trashers.