After a long lockout and nearly four months without any hockey whatsoever, the Toronto Maple Leafs returned to action this past weekend to open the 2012-13 season. So how did the Leafs celebrate the new CBA? They fired their general manager and promoted his lackey.
To say the least, the start of the season was rough for the Leafs.
With a youth movement, a wave of young talent has hit the Leafs roster. In are players like 2009 first-round selection Nazem Kadri, Leo Komarov, James van Riemsdyk, Jake Gardiner, Mike Kostka and Korbinian Holzer. Out are guys like Tim Connolly, who was waived and sent to the AHL, and Matthew Lombardi, who was shipped to the Phoenix Coyotes for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2014.
With youth comes mistakes, so this season will likely be a building season rather than a winning season. With a pretty deep draft class for 2013 and a high pick that they could land in the lottery, the Leafs are on their way to improving their team by leaps and bounds in the next few years.
Concerning this season, here are seven games that could define the Leafs' season this year. Good results could mean the team might challenge for a playoff spot; bad results would equal a possible lottery pick and the race to the first overall selection.