Although Toronto’s play on the ice has been an improvement over last season, it hasn’t resulted in any sort of improvement when it comes to the standings. They sit in last place in the Eastern Conference and as a result, some are beginning to wonder if the Leafs should think of themselves as sellers this season. As GM Lou Lamoriello told reporters, including Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star, it’s too early to tell which way the team will be leaning on the trade market:
“To think about that, it’s too far away to even have in your mindset. That’s a far-fetched thing at this point. Right now, we’re building. Determining who the players are that will be part of the future, and who are buying into what it takes to have the success you want to have.”
The Leafs are set to enter a tough stretch where they will play five games in eight nights which could potentially influence their direction. A few victories will keep them close to the final Wild Card spot – they’re currently eight points out of that position currently – but if they lose most of their games, the gap could become too big to close. Needless to say, this next week could go a long way towards influencing the remainder of their season.
Other notes from the Atlantic:
- Canadiens left winger Max Pacioretty played through most of November with a fracture in his foot, he told Sportsnet’s Eric Engels. Pacioretty, who has scored 30 or more goals in each of the last three seasons, had just three tallies last month and struggled considerably. He added that the fracture is now completely healed which should come as great news to Montreal, who have been hit hard by the injury bug lately with centres Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais as well as defensemen Greg Pateryn all out until late January at the earliest.
- The removal of Gerard Gallant as Florida’s head coach has yet to pay off as the team has lost four straight games. As Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press writes, there is a small silver lining in that last year’s Panthers team was only two points ahead of where this edition is through 28 games and that squad went on to win the division. Interim coach Tom Rowe admitted they’re using last year’s success as a motivator to try to get the team out of its funk but so far, that has yet to come to fruition. They won’t be getting help from the infirmary soon either as left winger Jonathan Huberdeau remains several weeks away from returning from his Achilles injury.