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The Maple Leafs Expect Changes: What Will They Be?

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost to the Montreal Canadiens and, yet again, are eliminated from a first-round series. Now what happens?

The Toronto Maple Leafs are one-and-done for a seventh straight time. Yet again, the team lost a first-round playoff series. Even more depressing for Maple Leafs’ faithful, this core group had a seventh-straight opportunity to eliminate an opponent and they failed to do so.

Related: Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs: Which Playoff Team Has the Most to Lose?

Now the Question Is: “What Changes Are Coming in Toronto?”

Not long after the game, David Amber, Anthony Stewart, and Elliotte Friedman formed a panel to talk together and to look at what went wrong for the Maple Leafs against the Montreal Canadiens. Then they speculated together how the team would likely move forward next season.

The key question the panel discussed in the video below was “Should the Maple Leafs stick with current core going forward?”

Point One: Some of the Veteran Leadership Didn’t Get It Done

Certainly, some of the veteran leadership the Maple Leafs brought together to help them succeed simply didn’t. Obviously, Joe Thornton’s among them. Stewart noted that Jason Spezza had a great series and the team needs to re-sign him. As well, he believed Wayne Simmonds had a good season as well – although there might be some debate about that point.

Jason Spezza hat trick Maple Leafs
Jason Spezza had a hat trick this season for the Maple Leafs

Point Two: The Canadiens’ Youth Showed Up

As Anthony Stewart noted, in contrast to the Maple Leafs, the Canadiens relied on their young talent. And that talent came through. The youngsters on the Canadiens had a big impact on the series. Nick Suzuki, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and Cole Caufield all showed up big time.

In contrast, the Maple Leafs didn’t match the Canadiens’ youth. Stewart noted that Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren need some more minutes. His point was the organization needed to use the whole system.

Point Three: It’s Time to Sit Down and Consider Why the Team Lost and Move from There

Friedman noted that the Maple Leafs have tried a couple of different ways to win and haven’t been successful. They’ve gone with skill; and, they’ve gone with adding some veterans and some age into their rosters. As Friedman noted, the task is to come together and ask “Why do we think we lost this series?” and “What are we going to do about it?”

Point Four: The Maple Leafs Core Players are Not Signed Long Term

As Friedman noted, other than John Tavares, the Maple Leafs core is really not signed for a long a time period. He wonders if Toronto is going to say, we want to bet on our talent but we don’t have it for the same kind of term as those other teams do. He believes that will make a pretty interesting offseason for them.

Zach Hyman Toronto Maple Leafs
Zach Hyman Toronto Maple Leafs

Point Five: Zach Hyman Is the Key Signing

Both Stewart and Friedman believe that, of the long list of UFA’s, the main concern right now how to sign Zach Hyman to a long-term, team-friendly contract. Although he didn’t perform very well in the playoffs, Hyman was coming back from a knee injury. The twosome on the panel believed Hyman would be the key and that the Maple Leafs need to find a way to lock him into a contract because “he’s one of those players who’s a heart and soul type guy” and a big piece of this Maple Leafs’ core.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Coach Keefe: It Sucks, But We’re Right Where We Should Be

Point Six: The Management in the Organization Will Stay Pat

Friedman noted that, although the armchair quarterbacks were going to be calling for changes, there will be stability with the Maple Leafs’ management. He notes that Brendan Shanahan has always put his faith in Kyle Dubas and he believes Shanahan will continue to back him. Friedman notes that, his personal feeling is the group sits down together and figures out what went wrong this year and how to fix it for next season.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Brian L

    June 1, 2021 at 7:16 am

    Cole Caufield showed up “big time”? Seriously? He had 1 assist in five games and was minus 2
    Come on do some research. Suzuki and Kok showed up sure but Cole was average and easily checked

  2. Randy Fraser

    June 1, 2021 at 10:40 am

    If Shanahan doesn’t believe Dubas doesn’t warrant a firing, then MLSE should seriously think of replacing him also. Clearly Dubas is in over his head as he has no idea of a players worth, with the way half his cap space is spent on 4 players.

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