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Further to: Leafs expectations for 2010-11

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Yesterday's survey results are in, and the Leafs' mean projection is 82.6 points.  That's not an unsubstantial improvement - Toronto finished with 74 points this year, so our wise crowds expect a four-win gain.  Let's put that in a table:

 

Points%
2009-10 0.451
Final 69 Games 0.486
2010-11 Projection 0.504

 

If we ignore Toronto's brutal 13-game streak to start the season - and well we should - they were on a 79-point pace.  Now the consensus is that they're an 82-83-point team?!  That doesn't sound like much of an improvement.  Well, I wrote about this last year.  Essentially, teams that get off to very bad starts are actually a lot better than they appear.  But that poor play is already banked in everyone's mind.  So future expectations are based on the poor full-season record instead of the team's apparent true talent level.  If Toronto was going to improve on their 79-point pace by nine points, they'd be on the playoff bubble; instead people think they're going to finish 12th or 13th.

Strange, isn't it?  Toronto had a bad 13 games while Phil Kessel was hurt and Vesa Toskala was destroying his career, and the outcome is that the Leafs face lower expectations a season later.