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Toronto Maple Leafs

For the Maple Leafs, There’s More than the Playoffs

Although the Toronto Maple Leafs soon face the postseason, there’s more than just the playoffs. What else is happening?

As the Toronto Maple Leafs gear up for the postseason, Sheldon Keefe and his team face critical decisions that could shape their playoff run. However, there’s more happening than the playoffs and postseason consideration. They’ve made a key signing and have some roster decisions to make.

Related: 3 Looming Questions as the Maple Leafs Enter the Playoffs

The Maple Leafs Signed Two Young Defensemen

The Maple Leafs recently added to their prospect pool with two noteworthy signings, emphasizing their commitment to future talent development. One familiar face, 26-year-old Nicolas Mattinen, rejoins the organization after an impressive stint in Germany. There, he showed offensive power with 46 points in 52 games. Mattinen’s return might one day add depth and potential versatility to the Maple Leafs’ lineup. However, he will likely first contribute to the team’s AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.

Another promising blue-line addition is Cade Webber, a 23-year-old defenseman from Boston University. Webber’s youth and potential growth trajectory signify the Leafs’ focus on fortifying their defensive ranks for upcoming seasons. Unlike Mattinen, Webber is a defensive defenseman. These signings may not immediately impact the playoff roster but highlight the team’s dedication to nurturing talent across all levels. By the way, both these young defensemen are huge physical specimens—big, tough youngsters.

Moving to Playoff Lineup Decisions – Reaves vs. Robertson? Brodie?

When it comes to lineup decisions for the playoffs, the Maple Leafs are confronted with several pivotal choices. One of the most interesting will be a potential choice between playing Nick Robertson or Ryan Reaves. While Robertson has shown offensive flair, concerns persist over his defensive consistency. That’s particularly crucial heading into the playoffs. Conversely, Reaves brings invaluable playoff experience and physicality, making a persuasive case for inclusion to provide additional depth and toughness.

TJ Brodie Nick Robertson Maple Leafs

Similarly, TJ Brodie’s game has come under scrutiny recently. However, he’s been playing well since he was a healthy scratch. At the same time, he’s likely one of the players that the coaching staff values the most for being reliable at a time when reliability is most needed. Brodie’s overall history of solid playoff contributions and know-how will probably warrant a spot in the team’s lineup, despite what fans believe should happen.

Who Would the Maple Leafs Rather Face in the Playoffs?

Last, although the consensus is that the Maple Leafs will face the Florida Panthers in the postseason, that isn’t necessarily the case. If the Panthers beat the Maple Leafs tomorrow night and the Boston Bruins lose both of their remaining games, the Maple Leafs will be on the road to Massachusetts to play the Bruins.

Expecting a playoff matchup against the Panthers or Bruins makes for a spirited debate among fans. While facing Florida might seem less daunting, both potential opponents pose significant challenges. Either way, the Maple Leafs will have to slay at least one of these dragons to advance – perhaps both.

In conclusion, the team’s playoff preparations will call for strategic lineup decisions. As the countdown to playoff hockey moves more quickly, the challenging and exciting part of the season will soon begin. Who knows where it might land?

Related: Maple Leafs Sign D-Man Cade Webber: What Should Fans Know?

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