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It’s early, but it’s real…

Over the years here at VLM, (back in the days when I posted regularly and there was a lot of great back and forth discussion here in the comments section), a lot of us used to submit that it was wise to wait until, say, the 15 or 20-game mark before we really started to make any real determinations about where the Leaf season might be headed.

Given that there have been a few false starts over the past decade or so when things looked pretty bright, that’s probably still a wise course of action as a Leaf fan.  Nonetheless, given that this team has been building toward this (and hopefully more) for years now, I also think it’s fair to say that what we are seeing in the early stages of the 2018-’19 NHL season is not a mirage— it’s quite likely very real.

After the win in Detroit Thursday night, they stand at four wins and 8 points, in 5 games. And they've scored a ton of goals. 

Tavares is, not surprisingly, delivering as hoped. Looks to like playing in Toronto. Matthews is what, a Top 5 player in the league right now? Maybe higher?

Marner is a guy that is hard to take your eyes off of—a still young player with skill, smarts and some pizzazz, too. 

Presumably a returning (at some point) Nylander will improve the roster even more.

The Leafs have given up too many goals in the early going, for sure, but it has hardly mattered given their propensity for putting the puck in the net the way they do.

Can this offensive output last? Likely not, but they also know—as Babcock does, only too well— they will need to be disciplined defensively if they want to get where they hope to go next spring. And no doubt Andersen will find his form, which will only help matters further.

My comments are not based on crunching any numbers—simply on the fact that speed matters, and so does skill and relentlessness.  

And...the fact that I can’t think of a team that wants to play them right now—and if they stay healthy, their opponents may feel even less inclined to want to take them on next spring, when it really matters.

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