The Toronto Maple Leafs had yet another disappointing end to their season. While they got past the first round of the postseason, they were beaten in five games by the surprising Florida Panthers in Round 2.
One step closer, but that’s it. In the end, even though the Maple Leafs exorcized one demon, there’s still more to go. Now the job is to regroup and move on.
The goal remains the same. The team needs to answer the question: “How can we move further toward winning the Stanley Cup?” In the Toronto market, that really is the only question that counts for the future. And, all strategy needs to point toward that end.
The video below Shows What Elliotte Friedman and Kevin Bieksa believe should be done with the team and in what order.
Three Key Steps in the Maple Leafs’ Business Plan
Here are three key areas they need to address to improve their chances of success.
Step One: Determine the Future of General Manager Kyle Dubas
The first step the Maple Leafs must take is to address the future of General Manager Kyle Dubas. While this is purely Friedman’s opinion, he believes it wouldn’t be surprising if discussions have already taken place regarding his return.
Friedman believes that swiftly resolving this matter is essential. This first step will impact the team’s decision-making process and allow them to focus on other important roster decisions.
Related: The Frustrations of Maple Leafs’ Fans: What Do They Say?
Step Two: Evaluate Team Goals and Personnel
Following the resolution of the management situation, the Maple Leafs must evaluate their team’s goals and personnel. According to Bieksa, the team needs to determine how they want to build their team. He suggests three choices: (a) to make the playoffs, (b) to advance past the first round, or (c) to become a Stanley Cup contender.
If the choice is the latter, the evaluation should focus on identifying players who possess the qualities required to achieve the desired goal. For example, a player like Yanni Gourde brings a playoff mindset and contributes significantly to a Cup-winning team. Players like him would be highly valued.
Step Three: Assess Team Direction and Make Necessary Adjustments
The Maple Leafs must assess the direction they want to take next season. This regular season at the trade deadline the kind of changes made focused on addressing the specific need of preparing the team for its matchup against Tampa Bay. However, as Bieksa noted, these adjustments deviated from the team’s usual style of play. He hinted that’s one reason the Maple Leafs didn’t fare that well against the Panthers.
The management needs to determine the team’s identity and establish a clear plan moving forward. They should consider acquiring players like Ryan O’Reilly and Luke Shannon. However, both choices should align with the team’s direction.
Related: Maple Leafs Risk Losing Matthews if They Let Dubas Depart
What’s Next for the Maple Leafs, and in What Order?
The Maple Leafs soon will face crucial decisions that will shape their future. As noted above, according to the Hockey Central panel, the order these decisions should be made consists of (a) Resolving the situation with Kyle Dubas, (b) evaluating the team’s goals and personnel, and (c) making necessary adjustments based on their desired direction are essential steps.
Additionally, the new general manager must address contract negotiations, especially with a star player like Auston Matthews. Considering what Matthews might want to stay could become a crucial factor in determining what happens to Dubas.
The team’s long-term success toward the Stanley Cup is what should drive all the decisions. One thing the panel did note that was positive was that key players such as Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly have demonstrated their commitment to the team. That, in itself, is an encouraging sign for Toronto fans.
Over the next few weeks, the Maple Leafs’ management needs must navigate a number of challenges strategically – all the time, keeping the team’s best interests in mind as they aim to build a winning roster.
Related: What Happens to Matt Murray & Joseph Woll Next Season?
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May 15, 2023 at 3:31 am
It isn’t really one step closer though because the Leafs were badly outplayed in 5 out of 6 of the round 1 series and got lucky by winning 3 overtimes in a row!
May 15, 2023 at 3:53 am
This so called core 5 have failed for 7 years of playoffs. It starts with them and the people responsible for having and keeping them, Dubas and Shanahan. Both should be gone but definitely a new GM is in order with some years of WINNING playoff experience! The new GM will handle the head coach situation better. Tavares must remain. Matthews and one other core 4 must go, Willie (Will He show up or not) Nylander or Marner. Trade Matthews before July 1 to get what they can instead of him walking a year later for nothing. No, do not sign him to stay! The resources acquired from the trades as well as freed cap can rebuild the rest of the team better. Sign Accairi, Schenn and O’Reilly if fair. They play with conviction and heart, unlike any of the core 5.
May 15, 2023 at 8:52 pm
I think you should quit drinking before posting your points don’t make any sense, the best teams that win a cup keep together the only thing the leafs need is a coach who knows how to put a lineup togehte keefe is useless. The Leafs if they had Quenville or Cooper as coach would of been three year ahead of ehere they are now.
May 15, 2023 at 8:16 am
The Maple Leafs don’t need to do anything. The NHLPA, the referees and the NHL organization need to quit deciding on what team is going to win the cup. Bettman will never allow the Stanley Cup back in Canada. In game 4 against Florida there wasn’t a single penalty called against the Panthers. Gouda’s hit against Kempf, after the whistle, no penalty called. In the Tampa series, why was Bennett not suspended for tackling Knies twice, why didn’t Bennett, when Bunting was cross checked in the neck and the back in game 3 against the Panthers not suspended??? He got a $5,000. How much does he make in a year??? That would be like loosing a loonie to us middle class people that don’t millions of dollars a year. Referees need to be held accountable, fined and or fired for being paid a decide who will win the games resulting in who will win the series.
What about Gouda’s holding the stick on the winning goal scored in game 5 when the game shouldn’t have even been in overtime if the officials actually did the jobs they’re paid to do.
It’s time the fans band together and take on the NHL in a class action lawsuit.
All of the money that was lost in bets by fans that bet on the better team have had their money stolen from them by the actions or should we say the referees not being held accountable for the inability to be unbiased which the league encourages. The coaches, players and commentators get huge fines or even get removed from the game for saying anything against or to the refs. This needs to be dealt with and Toronto should the chance to replay game five because of the crooked refereeing. I hope Gary Bettman gets to read this.
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