Eastern preview: Leafs add punch up front

Eastern preview: Leafs add punch up front
September 10, 2013, 8:00 am
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TORONTO  MAPLE LEAFS

2012-13: 26-17-5, 57 points

Where they finished: 3rd in the Northeast; 5th in the East; 9th in the NHL

Coach:  Randy Carlyle [2nd season]

Key additions: RW David Clarkson, C Dave Bolland, G Jonathan Bernier, D Paul Ranger, D T.J. Brennan

Key subtractions: C Mikhail GRabovski, RW Matt Frattin, LW Clarke MacArthur, G Ben Scrivens, D Mike Komisarek

Projected Lineup

Forwards

Joffrey Lupul – Tyler Bozak Phil Kessel

James van Riemsdyk – Nazim Kadri – David Clarkson

Joe Colborne – Dave Bolland – Nikolei Kulemin

Frazer McLaren – Jay McClement – Colton Orr

Defense

Dion Phaneuf – Cody Franson

Jake Gardiner – John-Michael Liles

Carl Gunnarsson – Paul Ranger

Goaltenders

James Reimer – Jonathan Bernier

Our take:  Can the Maple Leafs recover from the epic collapse in Game 7 of the conference quarterfinals last season, when they blew a three-goal lead in the third period and fell to the Boston Bruins in overtime?

General manager Dave Nonis went right to work addressing the Leafs’ needs by acquiring gritty, playoff-proven forwards David Clarkson and Dave Bolland and adding promising goaltender Jonathan Bernier to push James Reimer for the No. 1 job.

The result should be another step forward for the Leafs, who pushed the pace enough last season to finish fifth in the East.

Offseason Grade:  A

Will they make the playoffs in 2013-14:  Yes.