One of the most hopeful times of year for the hockey fan is when training camp kicks off. You hope the off-season moves will pan out and that some guys you hoped wouldn’t be coming back are indeed gone by the time the regular season rolls around.
In the case of the Toronto Maple Leafs, you hope (annually, it seems) that things will somehow be better this season.
While further roster additions and deletions are always possible, maybe even likely in Burke’s case, here are a few questions for us to consider on the near eve of training camp:
1) With Komisarek, Kaberle, Phaneuf, Gunnarsson, Lebda and Schenn on hand, who will be the “seventh defenseman” come opening night? Every club faces injuries and it’s a given that the Leafs will need more than those six guys. Who is next in line?
2) Who is the “number-one” guy in goal? Does it depend on training camp, or has Wilson already decided to go with experience in Gigurerre? Or, will they basically rotate as they did in the last part of last season?
3) Is Bozak really ready to be an 80-game number-one center?
4) Does Kadri make the team by opening night, or do the Leafs realize that time with the Marlies is the wisest thing for his long-term development?
5) Does Burke stay with Wilson all season even if the Leafs struggle for the third year in a row under the former Anaheim, Washington and San Jose bench boss?
6) For those who believe the Leafs can make the playoffs in the spring of 2011, that means that some team/teams will have to slip in order to make room for the Leafs. Who do you think those teams will be?
7) Does Kaberle finally get traded? By opening night (if all parties agree)? By the deadline? Not at all?
8) What will Leaf fans be complaining about at the 20-game mark?
9) Does Kulemin step forward—or back—this season?
10) How many goals will Kessel score against the Bruins (we all recall he struggled against them last year) this season?
There are certainly other—and more important, I’m sure—questions that can be asked. But for now, those are a few that come to mind.
I look forward to your comments.