The 5 Biggest Keys to the Toronto Maple Leafs Being a Contender

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The 5 Biggest Keys to the Toronto Maple Leafs Being a Contender
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

To be clear, the usage of the term "contender" in this particular slideshow isn't to suggest the Leafs will be Stanley Cup contenders in the traditional sense once the lockout is resolved.

Instead, it's usage relates to the Leafs contending for a playoff position, which is all they can hope for with the current incarnation of the team, since it's clear they're a long way from being legitimate Stanley Cup hopefuls.

With the league and its union finding themselves at a stalemate once again, player movement has been halted (save for players making the move to the Europe), so the Leafs roster as it stands today is the one that will likely be tasked with breaking Toronto's playoff drought.

Of course, if the lockout were to last a full season the Leafs might look mighty different when the puck drops once again, with six players eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2013.

Nonetheless, with General Manager Brian Burke tinkering with his squad throughout the off-season rather than overhauling it, there are specific issues with the potential to make, or break, the Leafs' season once again.

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