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Things are Finally Looking Up in Toronto

The Toronto Maple Leafs were the worst team in the NHL last season, but things are (finally) starting to look up in the Big Smoke.

Toronto has been in a clear rebuild since Brendan Shanahan took over the reins as team president in 2014, and Shanny has made some great strides in an effort to make the Leafs relevant again.

Bringing in Mike Babcock as coach has already started to pay dividends, and an influx of young talent highlighted by 2016 No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews has fans in the GTA excited for the first time in quite a while.

For a franchise that spent the better part of a decade treading water due to questionable front office decisions, that means something. Here’s a look at the Maple Leafs’ odds in the upcoming season, courtesy of Bovada.

Stanley Cup +5000

If you ever want to get a dig in at your Leafs fan friend, just mention the year 1967. They’ll know what you’re talking about. By the time the 2016-17 NHL season wraps up, it will be 50 years since the Stanley Cup came to Toronto. The Leafs are improving, but don’t bank on that trend changing this year.

Eastern Conference +2500

Toronto sits tied with the New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators for the 11th-worst chances to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup final, ahead of Buffalo (+2800), Carolina (+3300) and Columbus (+3300).

The Leafs have been at the bottom of the barrel in this regard over the previous few years, so at least it shows oddsmakers are starting to show them some respect.

Atlantic Division +1500

Tampa Bay (+130), Florida (+400), Boston (+650), Detroit (+650), Montreal (+700) and Buffalo (+1500) are deservedly ranked ahead of the Buds in divisional futures. Provincial rival Ottawa sits tied with the Maple Leafs at +1500. That seems pretty fair to me.

Point total OVER/UNDER 81.5

Since the NHL’s new point system was introduced in 2005, Toronto has eclipsed 81 points six times. However, the Leafs have gone above that number just once in the past four campaigns. In 2014-15 they wound up with a pitiful 68 points, only to put up 69 last year.

To see 81.5 on the board is a bit surprising, but it goes to show that this team is moving in the right direction. I’m not confident enough to see that much progress just yet, however, so I’d take the UNDER in this scenario.

2016-17 Toronto Maple Leafs Futures Odds
Stanley Cup+5000
Eastern Conference+2500
Point totals81.5

Odds as of October 6 at Bovada