Right Wing Phil Kessel has paced the Toronto Maple Leafs offensively this season. (Kathy Kmonicek/AP)

Right Wing Phil Kessel has paced the Toronto Maple Leafs offensively this season. (Kathy Kmonicek/AP)

The NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs are valued by Forbes Magazine at $1 billion, $250 million more than the next highest franchise.

“The Toronto Maple Leafs should be to hockey what the New York Yankees are to baseball,” the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox told Bill Littlefield.

But that hasn’t exactly been the case. Toronto hasn’t even appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals — let alone won a cup — since 1967.

According to Cox, the Maple Leafs’ missteps can be traced back for decades.

“Well I mean you can go back almost 50 years when the Maple Leafs had a chance to get Bobby Orr and said, ‘Nah, thanks, we don’t need him right now.’” Cox said. “In 2005 the NHL really changed significantly by bringing in a salary cap system. Well, not surprising because the Leafs had been poorly equipped to deal with every major change in the industry over the previous 40 years, they messed this up to.”

But after missing out on the playoffs since 2004, the Maples Leafs are finally back in the postseason.

Cox wrote that, this season, the Maples Leafs have undergone a “cultural revolution.”

“All of a sudden you have a team now that’s one of the toughest teams in the league and leads the league in hitting,” Cox said. “And when they were sort of pushed to the edge and people thought they might start falling apart again this season they bounced back, got really hot and earned themselves a playoff position. So I think they’ve demonstrated it’s a very different team from last year and really a very different team than they’ve had in a long time.”